Gifting Spirit (Fruit of the Spirit)

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am 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 13:1-3 (New Revised Standard Version)

As a seventh grader at a parochial school, I sang in the choir. Our repertoire included “The Gift of Love,” which sets an adaptation of today’s reading to an English folk melody. Forty years later, this song still plays in my head whenever this scripture is read.

Giving is a watchword for this season. Starting in early November, we face a bombardment of ads encouraging us to shop for gifts, and there are appeals to make donations from Giving Tuesday all the way to New Year’s Eve.

This can skew our motivation to give in a less noble direction, to a sense of obligation or a desire to please others, for example. I remember reading an essay a few years ago which claimed that the steady stream of alarming news had motivated people to make donations out of a sense of panic or rage. At one time or another, I have fallen prey to all of these.

Today’s reading reminds us from where our motivations should flow. Regardless of what we do, say, or give, love should be the foundation. Love for God and neighbor forms the law that calls us to account. Love is at the heart of the gospel that saves us. Love is a gift that the Holy Spirit bestows upon us to guide us in our faith. Take time today to welcome the Holy Spirit into your heart so that you may share the love with others.


Prayer: Holy Spirit, guide me in all that I do, so that I do these things out of love, just as you love us.


P.J. Hinton – Cohort 1: Inspire. Ignite. Invite.

Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Indianapolis, IN