February 3. I Gain Nothing.

Friday, February 3, 2012

February 3. I Gain Nothing.

If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.  (1 Corinthians 13:3)

There’s an episode of Friends in which Phoebe tries to do something completely selflessly.  It occurs to her that everything she does for someone else will gain her some accolade or some benefit.

We like to be recognized for the good things we do.  In fact, because we like it so much, universities and hospitals, non-profit groups and even some churches feed our desire to be recognized by putting names on buildings and rooms in buildings, even theater seats and pews in churches might have the name of someone who donated money.  We buy bricks with our name on it so that down through the years people will recognize that we donated a small amount of money and might be impressed with that action.

We work awfully hard to impress the world around us.

It is nearly impossible for us to do things without recognition – even if it just one other person knows what we’ve done, it satisfies our need to be appreciated and maybe to boast a little bit about how terrific it was.

What is it that we should gain?  Is it the appreciation of humanity?

No, though for many that is all that matters.  If all we are looking for is a few pats on the back, that is all we will ever gain.  If that is all we desire, love is not part of the transaction.  We will gain nothing.

Mother Teresa did not sacrifice herself for pats on the back, though she received many.  She held in her heart a strong love for humanity and for the Lord whom she served.  Knowing that those accolades could help her raise funds to continue her work allowed her to continue to accept the praise and honor that came her way, but it didn’t change her base desire.  All she wanted to do was to serve others out of love that poured from within her.

It’s all about our heart, isn’t it!  No matter what we do, whether others feel it is incredible or not enough to warrant a second glance, if what we do is an outgrowth of the love we have for each other and for God, we will gain everything.