The Greatest of These Is Charity

Gary Bird
I Timothy 1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:

When I was a younger Christian, I remember having the thought run through my mind that knowledge was the pinnacle of Christianity. If I could just learn a little more I would be able to start helping people. I had to know how to answer every question if I wanted to be used for the Lord. I was under the impression that knowledge was the end goal. Over the years, I have heard this similar thought from others who were newly saved.

Don’t misunderstand me. We must read, learn, and grow in knowledge. However, is knowledge really the end goal? Since sinless perfection is not possible on earth, is knowledge of the Bible the highest plane a Christian can reach? The answer to this can be found in I Timothy 1:5 where it says, “the end of the commandment is charity.” The Bible actually provides us with a very clear order to how we should grow in II Peter 1:5-7. We are reminded to add these items on top of each other, one after the other.

1. Faith
2. Virtue
3. Knowledge
4. Temperance
5. Patience
6. Godliness
7. Brotherly Kindness
8. Charity

Notice where we find knowledge. Its number three on the list and please don’t miss the last items we are to reach for, kindness and charity. Charity is simply brotherly love, Christians caring for one another.

Here is something you might find interesting. Did you know that all our God-given skills are actually useless without love? We are reminded in I Corinthians 13 that if we are the greatest preacher, have all knowledge, all faith, give all we have to help the poor, and even offer to be martyred for the cause of Christ, but we lack love, it profits us nothing.

Love is the window that allows others to see our faith. Remember, the Pharisees were a group of people who had much knowledge, yet they lacked love. Their impact was limited, and their lack of love made their hypocrisies very visible. Understanding the Bible is wonderful and after we seek faith, knowledge should be obtained. With that in mind, we must not lose sight that knowledge without by love will simply make us puffed up in pride.

How important is love to God? Well, it was because of love that He sent His Son to pay for our sins. It was because of love He practices longsuffering when it comes to giving us the judgment we deserve. God also reminds us very clearly that not only is love the end of the commandment, it’s also the beginning and greatest commandment as well. II John 1:5 explains that the commandment from the beginning was to love one another. In Matthew 22:37 Jesus reminds us that the first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord and second, which is like unto the first, is to love your neighbor as yourself.

Since God puts such a focus on this subject, I think it would be wise to use it as a measuring stick in our life. As our goal is to strive towards the mark, we must reach towards love. Let us examine ourselves with this question. Who is closer to God today because of the love that I shared?

Love is not a gift, magic, or a passing emotion. Love is a choice. We must choose to love others.

If we have ever felt the love of God before, surely, we must be able to extend that same love to others. Some may think that their hurt won’t allow them to love. While I am sure I cannot fully understand everyone else’s pain, I do know someone Who does. He not only understands what you are going through, but He also knows how to comfort you. The Lord is able to teach you how to love again.

The highest plane any Christian can reach on earth is love. Charity is what we must continue to strive towards as we continue down our journey. Knowledge is good, but charity is what is most important.

Gary Bird

Gary and his family are core members of our church. He assists with multiple minsitries. He and his wife Jessica have four children.

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