1 Corinthians 13
I hope most of you know this chapter by heart. Verses 1-3, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." We are not usually ready to part with our goods. Some of you have lost very few things. You are careful people. If my house is burning the one thing I would try to save is the Bible. Some of you women would want to save your gold. I do not have gold and I do not care for gold. Some you men want to save something else. To give away all that you have to feed the poor is no small matter. But what are we reading here? "You could give all that you have and not yet have love." That is a very extraordinary statement! We all know that love gives. Love sacrifices. Sometimes you may even sacrifice everything and yet not have he right kind of love. Some of you have been zealous for God. Some of you have been sacrificing for God. But we do not publish our sacrifices. If we publish our sacrifices, they would lose their value. The left hand should not know what the right hand giveth. That is the simple principle. How is it possible? I want to tell you "It is possible." I have forgotten again and again what I have given. I praise God. To be able to give and still not have the right kind of love, that is an extraordinary thing. If you study this chapter carefully, you will see at how many points we are failing the Lord.
"Knowledge." You can have a lot of knowledge. The Bible refers to "all knowledge." The test comes in our personal relationships-- when a daughter-in-law comes or when a sister-in-law comes, it is then our old qualities come up. You are not even aware that your old qualities are still there. You must go to the cross. The Lord Jesus said, "He who does the will of God is my brother, sister and my mother." How is it, that I do not relate to these persons like that? Old quarrels and old anger is retained. We must be very careful with our words. We must not grieve God with our words. Those who speak few words are very blessed.
Reference is made to "Great faith to remove mountains." Some mountains have been removed lately. The Lord has helped us to see some mountains removed. When we cried to God, "Help us to build this building", He helped to remove the objection raised by the Government. He helped us to complete the registration of this compound. This meant crossing several barriers. If you see a few mountains move, we tend to think "How wonderful is my faith!" But the Bible says, you may still not have the true love. This perfect love is called "sanctification". Perfect love! It has no selfishness in it and no greed in it. Some of the great men of God, not only led people to conversion, they used to pray with those souls all night, even two or three days till they were sanctified. In the early days, you know, we used to see people praying like that. "Lord, I want victory in my thoughts, I want victory in my eyes." They prayed till they got victory. They entered into the sanctified life, the life of perfect love. Among us there are those that have made sacrifices and they have great works and have got great faith. And yet, in the matter of perfect love, they have not had real victory. Is it possible for a person to give his body to be burnt in martyrdom without love? Bible says, it is. One may be carried away by patriotism or by a foolish zeal, "Well, let me do this."
If you give your body to be burnt, I suppose you are very conscious of your
martyrdom. That is the kind of doctrine and teaching which was given to many
young people in
Recently, one of our young girls resigned her fine position when she felt the call of God. Her family could not understand this. "Why does our daughter resign a good job to go and serve God, not seeking any advantage for herself, not knowing what the future held? She said, "God asked me to resign to serve Him. I will do it." When you are moved by the love of God, you will not be acknowledged by many people. Some people even may hate you for that. But our business is to obey God. It must be very hard for a young woman to be in that position. She did not have any savings either. She had spent all her money going to the retreats travelling long distances. This also the family could not understand. One day she got a letter from her father which said, "I gave you some money as my daughter, because I wanted you to have some money, give that money back." Her father was probably afraid that she would give that money to God or God’s work.
In the Christian life, your value is not money at all. Your value is in that
you sought the pearl of precious price. A virtuous woman, her price is far
above rubies. So in this world, when people know that you have no money, they
will leave you. But you are precious, not your money. When the retreats started