From Pause for Pastors: Finding Still Waters in the Storm of Ministry.

If I speak in public with excellence, and teach groups with brilliance, but I fail to love others, I’m of no value.

If a prophetic utterance flows through my mouth, if dynamic sermons educate and motivate listening audiences, if written words impress the industry, but I fail to love others, I’m of no value. My tapes should be erased, my books burned and my files deleted.

If I give away the things I treasure, if I die proclaiming the gospel, but fail to love others, I lose. No one wins.

What is this love anyway? We hear so much about it and claim to want it, but do we know what it is?

Love enjoys this life journey; it endures, refusing to quit. Love says the right words the right ways to the right people at the right times and for the right reasons. Love doesn’t allow emotions to take charge or be hidden; it merges confrontation with kindness, truth with trust, honesty with optimism.

Love doesn’t get back at others or push others back. Love doesn’t seek to stay at the front of a line. Love also lets things go.

Love refuses to allow damaging habits to continue, even when so much of self wants to pursue such conduct. Love listens. Love asks. Love learns. Love laughs and cries. Love stays alive when pleasure dies. Love forgives those who ask for forgiveness and those who never catch on to how much wrong they have done.

Love longs to see others succeed, not fail. Love looks for moments to show care, while hoping no one knows who gave that care. Love lives in everyday life. Love refuses to give up. Love chooses to grow up.

When few things make sense, when hurt holds us back, when former failures refuse to be removed, love rises above. It keeps at it. It refuses to quit.

We need faith and hope and love. Faith is crucial: only through its lens can the invisible be seen. Hope is vital, only through its flavor can we add purpose, endurance, reason. But love ranks at the top. Through love, faith and hope show themselves in our lives. So, let us love and live.

By valuing love, our lives have value.