There are many things to be said about love. Books, volumes, beliefs, and opinions can be found on the subject almost everywhere. In fact, it seems like our culture worships love. People often measure their own worth in their friends (people they love / people they cared about) and their boyfriend / girlfriend / husband / wife.
The Bible tells us about love repeatedly (after all, it has been said that the Bible is the greatest love story ever told). We are commanded to love our God, our neighbors, one another, the whole nine yards. Some of the things are harder than others. For example, I have a neighbor that I struggle to love. She is blunt, overbearing, rude, and more than slightly crazy (I'm serious). I have a very hard time being anywhere around her. She has shown up at my house, my work, and my church. I have always done my very best to avoid her, but sometimes I find myself cornered with no escape.
I have come to this realization: I do not love my neighbor. But then I look into Scripture, just before Paul launches into his exhaustive description of love.
In the first first three verses of this chapter, he says "...but didn't love others, I would be only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal... but didn't love others, I would be nothing... but if I didn't love others, I would have gained nothing." Any one of us could use our own lives to fill in the blanks.
I'll give some modern day examples. "I go to church, but if I don't love others, I would be nothing." If I was a doctor, I could say, "I heal the sick, but if I don't love others, I would have gained nothing." A therapist? "I help people work past their issues and inner demons, but if I didn't love others, I would be only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal."
Love is the key. We all have heard the expression "It's the thought that counts." We can do all the right things, but without love, we truly gain nothing. At least, nothing as far as our Lord is concerned. Do the right things, for the right reason
"Three things will last forever - faith, hope, and love - and the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13