1 Corithians 13:1
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but I do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”
Taken separately, a gong or a cymbal doesn’t make music. They just make sounds, in the case of a gong, very noisy sounds, and a cymbal a clanging one. However, inserted within an orchestra both have a wonderful place and beautiful role within a performance. In the first instance, the instruments call attention to themselves, in the second, they play a role within a larger group and don’t stand out above the others.
The Apostle Paul is making that comparison in this first verse of this great and famous chapter. One can know all the right words to say, have scripture at the ready, and appear to speak with the voice of God; but inwardly may only be acting out of hubris, pride and self-promotion. A person can have the oratory skills to rival the greatest of all men and in fact seem so angelic in nature, speaking so movingly, so compellingly as to bring people to tears, with throngs flocking to hear him; but without true love, in God’s eyes it is nothing more than that stand-alone noisy gong or clanging cymbal. Meaningless and worthless in His eyes.
Do I speak or act out of love or self-promotion?
Lord, grant me the humility and the love for you and others, to see clearly the motivations for my words and actions. Give me the grace to repent when my selfish heart takes over, and I act out of self and not out of love for you. For you died on the cross for me.
Patrick is a member of Pleasant Grove Reformed Church, a native Texan
and a father of three. As an author, when he is not writing, he works in the oil & gas industry.
At 11 A.M. for our worship service!