Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“Charity never faileth”
From conversations with Preacher Clark in the late 1970’s
He didn’t know Greek, and so, he could not have known that the same word was being used for “love” and “charity”, but my father taught that there was a significant difference between “charity” and “love”.
All of God’s children, he would often tell us, have the love of God within them. After all, didn’t Paul say that “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the holy Ghost which He has given to us” (Rom. 5:5). But charity, so he would go on to explain, is the love of God in action. Then he would quote, with some emphasis, 1Corinthians 13:8: “Charity never faileth!”
He taught us that we can fail in our walk of faith, even if the love of God is in our hearts, if that love is doing nothing, but that if we put that love into action (turning “love” into “charity”), we would never fail. “Yes”, he warned us, “You can fail with the love of God, but you can never fail with charity.”
There have been untold thousands of penetrating insights into eternal truths made by old holiness preachers, some of whom where all but illiterate. My father was more educated than most old holiness preachers of his era, but education was not what made those old preachers worth something to their flocks. The anointing of the holy Ghost gave them their value. As my father often said, quoting Peter, “If any man minister, let him do it as of the ability that God giveth.” Masters of Greek might shake their heads at my father’s ignorance of Greek, but his point about the love of God was a good one. The holy Ghost brings the love of God into the hearts of men, but if it lies there unused, what good is it? And what good to anyone are we, if in our relationships with others, we neglect the source of all goodness that dwells in us?
The wisdom of God, beyond which there is no greater wisdom, is often deposited in earthen vessels despised by the world for its lack of polish. But the Lord warned me, when I was still a boy, never to belittle a man or his words for lack of eloquence. And since “God has chosen the foolish of this world to confound the wise”, it’s best that we do not become proud and begin to mock others who seem to us to be less sophisticated than ourselves.
Yes, old Preacher Clark was ignorant when it came to Greek, but his instruction to his flock to put the love of God into action so that we would not fail was as full of wisdom as anything that any Greek scholar has ever said, or could ever say.