The Corinthians had written to the Apostle Paul and had asked his advice on a number of problems which were perplexing them. In chapter 12 Paul explains that within the church body there are diverse spiritual gifts. In chapter 14 he addresses how we are to use our spiritual gifts. Chapter 13, known to many as the “love chapter,” stresses that the motivation to serve each other using our spiritual gifts should be love.
Loving people is difficult, but as believers we are commanded to love one another and serve each other. In this passage we learn three principles crucial to our understanding how serving others in love works:
Serving with love is ESSENTIAL (v. 1-3). Before you serve or use your gifts, ask, “Am I doing this out of love?” Without love, your service could amount to nothing and gain nothing. Is it possible to serve without love? What is usually the motive of those who serve without love? Discuss how this kind of service could be offensive to you. How does serving without love be useless and unprofitable?
Serving with love is EFFECTIVE (v. 4-7). Paul used action words, not feeling or abstract ideas, in describing love. Love brings about an effect; it influences others. It spreads and covers different aspects of life. How did God show His love in action to mankind? As His child, how do you serve with love in action? Share how your service affects or influences others.
Serving with love is ENDURING (v. 8-13). Other gifts will come to an end, but anything you do with love will have eternal significance. The Corinthian Christians did not lack in spiritual gifts, but they were terribly deficient in spiritual fruit because they lacked love. Why is love considered the greatest among faith, hope and love? Discuss why it is not possible to serve with endurance without love. Share examples of how you can serve with endurance because of love.
How is service with love being manifested in your church? Are you actively taking part in serving others in love?
In Walk: Do you consider love absolutely essential and the most important aspect in your service, looking out for the best of others rather than your own? How effective is your service? Does it affect and influence others? Does your service endure, or does it fade? Is your love something others can count on no matter how undeserving they may be? Ponder on how you can serve others with love as described in 1 Corinthians 13.
In Prayer: Heavenly Father, You alone are the source of strength for me to love others through service that can be defined as essential, effective, and enduring. May the Holy Spirit work in me, convict and correct me to serve with love. May my service be truly of help and blessings to others and done out of selflessness, promoting not my own interest, but of others. Thank you that all these are possible with Your help. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.