31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
He said we can the gifts, but He (Paul) will show us a better way. For that we have to go into Chapter 13, so let us look at the 1st verse
13: 1 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. (KJV)
13:1 If I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such [a]as is inspired by God’s love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. (AMP)
I used both version with this verse to show what the word “Charity” means. What is Charity here?
Charity. … In Christian theology and ethics, charity (a translation of the Greek word agapē, also meaning “love”) is most eloquently shown in the life, teachings, and death of Jesus Christ.
It means more than love. But notice what these verse says you could speak the language of men or even of angels and if you do not have this deep form of love you are just making a loud noise. Think how awful it would sound if you were listening to a piece of music and all of a sudden the drummer just starts beating his cymbals without regard to the song. This is what Paul is saying. YOu know something is not right.
Let us also look at the sound brass and tinkling cymbal
The words “sounding brass” are very important in this verse. Let’s begin our study today with the word “brass.” It comes from the Greek word chalkos, an old word that referred to metal. However, it wasn’t just any metal; it was bronze or copper to which a small amount of tin had been added. This tin caused the metal to have a hollow, empty sound when it was beaten. That is why Paul also used the word “sounding” — the Greek word echo, which described a noise that reverberates or echoes. When these two words were used together, they portrayed the endless beating of metal that produces a hollow, annoying, irritating echo that seems to eternally reverberate.
But wait — Paul also likened these super-spiritual people who lacked love to “a tinkling cymbal.” The word “tinkling” is a very poor translation, for the Greek word alalazon means to clash or to crash loudly. The word “cymbal” comes from the Greek word kumbalon, which is the Greek word for cymbals. But when these two words are compounded together, it describes a constant, loud clashing of cymbals, much like the clashing cymbals played by the Jewish people just before they went to war! The clashing of those cymbals was a call to arms! It sounded the signal that it was time to fight!
(Both taken from //renner.org/sounding-brass-or-a-tinkling-cymbal/)
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, and have not charity, I am nothing. (KJV)
Wow!! In the previous chapter Paul told us to seek the best gifts. He say here even if we have the best gifts and can even move mountains but we have not love then we are nothing. Ask yourself do you want to be nothing? Not in a prideful way, in a way where God could use us. He wants us to have love so he can use us to show the world His love. Remember God loved us before we even knew Him. God loved us so much that he gave his Son to die for us. Can you think of someone who has wronged you and could you give up your son or daughter to make things right with them. God did.
3 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. (KJV)
To do good works to help others, feed the poor, help those in need or even give your body to help others if not done in love it means nothing.
I think Paul is saying in these 1st verses we need to look at our motives in everything we do..Is it in love or Is it selfish. Look at yourself (myself included) and let us find why we do the things we do. Is it really because we love the Lord or Is it to our gain. Are we serving the Lord because it is the thing to do or do we serve the Lord and want His love and will in our lives. Would you be willing to die to yourself and follow Christ or are we just playing a game.
Now Paul goes on and shows us what real love looks like, we will look at that in our next post.