"...But if I didn’t love others, I would be of no value whatsoever." –1 Corinthians 13:3 (NLT)
If I were to paraphrase the 1st three verses of 1 Corinthians 13, it would go like this: Whatever I say no matter how it’s said; whatever I know no matter where it came from; whatever I have no matter how spiritual, whatever I do no matter how great; if there’s no love in it, I’m equal to zero.
Ministry is a transference between one person to another, whether it be a word of encouragement, a prayer for healing, an act of service or mere listening. So it has to have value. Value can only be added when love is involved. Otherwise we minister with nothing. Nothing accomplishes nothing.
Yet, love is no easy task, especially when the person or persons we are called to minister to are unlovable. It would be easy to just judge them as unworthy of anything or even hopelessly sinful and withhold ministry from them. It would be easier still if the one we’re ministering to would dutifully sit at our feet and stare wide-eyed, soaking every word that comes out of our mouth.
Love calls us to go down to where it’s dark and dirty; where we are most vulnerable; where our weaknesses are likely to be revealed; where there is pain and tears; where the road is rocky or pockmarked and may cause us to stumble.
Yet, that is exactly where Jesus Christ, our forerunner, walked on. And he commands us to follow him, not because he wants us to go through some rite of passage to become ministers, but because difficulty causes us to die to self so the life of Jesus may be revealed.
Jesus revealed is love revealed. That’s ministry! Christ is the greatest value we can impart to one another.
Simply stated, without Christ we’re as substantial as a balloon.