What is the true fruit of love? Is it your children? Is it happiness? Is it receiving from others? Well, actually, it isn’t.
The fruit of love is giving. The ultimate example of love resulted in the greatest gift, as John 3:16 tells us,
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (NIV).
Both throughout history, and in the Bible, the truth is illustrated that those the ones who love the most are the ones who give the most.
In the Bible, this is illustrated by the experience of Mary Magdalene. Jesus said of her that because she had been forgiven much, she loved much,
But whoever has been forgiven little loves little (Luke 7:47b, NIV).
Because her love was “great” (v.47a) Mary gave much (vv.45–46). It wasn’t just the priceless perfume that she poured on Jesus feet. She gave all that she had, and all of herself to Jesus.
Because I operate a Gospel ministry called Good News Unlimited, we are able to fulfil our mission through fundraising. That’s why I know from experience what research backs up, that people who have less give more (in relative terms).
There are several reasons why this is so, but one of them is that research also shows that people who have less (and these are generalisations) tend to be more compassionate and sensitive to the needs of others, while those who have more tend to be more self-centred in their thinking. This again lends support to the principle that the fruit of love is giving.
In terms of God’s priorities, there are a lot of things that we value highly, which God values way down in his list. God isn’t interested in how much money or stuff you have. God isn’t interested in your profession of faith. God isn’t interested in your position in society, within your profession, or in your church. He’s interested in how much you love, which you will reveal by how much you give.
This is illustrated in the story of the widow who gave one tiny coin at the temple, after all the religious leaders had given large sums of money. Jesus said that she had given more than all the rest of them (Mark 12:41–44). How could that be? Because she had given all she had, while the rest had given out of their abundance. This is significant, because it tells us that God measures our giving, not by the amount we give, but by how much we keep back for ourselves.
If the fruit of love is giving, then the widow was the more loving, of all who gave that day. She only had a pittance to give, but she gave it all. Mary Magdalene gave more, but it was all she had. What mattered was that they both gave as the fruit of love.
John of the Cross made this profound statement,
“In the twilight of life God will not judge us on our earthly possessions and human success but rather on how much we have loved.” – John of the Cross
As in the case of Mary Magdalene, if we realise that we have been forgiven much, we will love much. If we love much, we will give much. Love can never be quietly held in some hidden corner of our lives. By definition love much always be shared. To put it simply, love gives – always.
That’s what God did, and that’s why you can be his redeemed child today.
Article supplied with thanks to Dr Eliezer Gonzalez.
About the Author: Dr Eli Gonzalez is the Senior Pastor of Good News Unlimited and the presenter of the Unlimited radio spots, and The Big Question.