In yesterday's devotional, we talked about how love is "the more excellent way." We are to pursue love, especially in how we practice the gifts of the Spirit.
In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul presses home the point of just how important love really is. Let's start with verse 1,
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
Paul does not say the gift of tongues isn't legitimate or genuine. But if there is not a heart of love behind it, it is just noise. You see, the water picks up the taste of the pipe that it flows through. If the pipe isn't clean, the water can pick up a pretty nasty taste, even though it is still genuinely water.
So also the gift can be genuine, but it is more noise than anything else to the hearts of the people who hear it if it is not accentuated by love.
Let's move to verse 2,
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, but have not love, I am nothing.
Notice he did not say the gifts are nothing. The gifts are genuine. He says you are nothing. From heaven's point of view, you are defined by your character, not by your accomplishments. The world tends to define people by their accomplishments. In heaven's books, however, you are defined by your character.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing (verse 2).
It does not say the poor won't profit, but you won't profit. You lose your reward if your heart is not right.