Today’s Daily Lesson comes from 1 Corinthians chapter 13 verses 1 through 3:
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
We can do many tremendous things in the name of God and God’s kingdom, but if we do them without love we miss the mark entirely.
Charity without love breeds contempt. Service without love yields resentment. To serve the poor while loathing the rich only pretends to bring in the beloved community.
One of my favorite scenes in all of literature comes from Wendell Berry’s novel “Jayber Crow”. Jayber is a small town barber struggling to come to terms with his Christian faith and the so-called Christian community around him in 1960s Kentucky. The scene is told from Jayber’s first-person perspective and describes a heated argument he has over the Vietnam War with his frenemy in town Troy.
“One Saturday evening, while Troy was waiting his turn in the chair, the subject was started and Troy said – it was about the third thing said – ‘They ought to round up every one of them sons of bitches and put them right in front of the damned communists, and then whoever killed who, it would be all to the good.’
“There was a little pause after that. Nobody wanted to try to top it . . .
“It was hard to do, but I quit cutting hair and looked at Troy. I said, ‘Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you.’
“Troy jerked his head up and widened his eyes at me. ‘Where did you get that crap?’
“I said, ‘Jesus Christ.’
“And Troy said, ‘Oh.’
“It would have been a great moment in the history of Christianity, except that I did not love Troy.”
That scene comes across my mind at least once a week just about every week. I figure there is a reason for that.