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. 

I Corinthians 13:1-3

This is the most famous passage and chapter in the Bible on the subject of charity.  Charity is often referred to as “love.”  But charity goes even beyond love.  Love is usually, in some way or another, deserved or earned.  Charity is not.  Charity is not earned or deserved.  Charity is simply given.  This passage has much to say on the subject, and we will look at what it says this week.

We can look at the list of things given here and see that no matter what we do, if we do it without charity, it is of no profit.  That is a difficult thing for us, as humans, to understand.  We have a hard time grasping the fact that, no matter how much good we might do, we need to be doing it with a right heart.  God puts a premium on our hearts.  God wants our hearts right.  Too often, we think that only our actions matter.  But the Lord tells us over and over (especially in the New Testament) that it is the heart that really matters.  What we have in our hearts will eventually come out in our lives.  If we have charity in our hearts, all of the things listed in this passage will come out in our lives.  But if we do not have charity in our hearts, then no amount of forcing ourselves to do right things is going to help.

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