If you are looking to be challenged in your faith, called out of complacency, and equipped to live out the Great Commission, then Multiply is the book for you!
I honestly could say that Chan changes my life each time I read one of his books. I have read Crazy Love and Forgotten God, but Multiply has been on my to-read list for a while. My husband and I have the opportunity to hear Chan speak this weekend at the Altar Conference in Fresno. God prompted me to begin reading Multiply--much of my time is used making disciples so this seemed like the right choice. I am so thankful that I began reading it today. God has much work to do in refining and reshaping my heart.
Often 1 Corinthians 13:4-13 is read at weddings, talking about the beauty of love, but the verses immediately preceding it share a profound truth.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3, NIV:
"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing."
The Message puts 1 Corinthians 13 this way:
"If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end."
Chan recounts the importance of these first three verses:
"Do you worry about what people think of you? Or do you look for ways to love and opportunities to give? A sure sign of a loveless heart is seeing people as a means to your own ends--they listen to you, give you affirmation when you want it, stay out of your way when you don't, etc. Teaching other people with this type of mentality is bound to be sterile and unfruitful. According to Paul, every time we try to teach someone with this mentality, we can be sure that we have become nothing more than a clanging gong or resounding cymbal; we have made ourselves both annoying and irrelevant... It's not about what you know--or what you think you know--it's about love."
Reading all of this has convicted my heart and has called me to change the way I do things entirely. Instead of just praying for God to use my words to change people's hearts or for Him to speak His truth through me, I need to be praying that God would use my words to display His deep love for others.
How many times have I spoken with eloquence but sounded like a clanging symbol or a rusty gate?
How many times have I spoken in power but have spoken without love?
How many times have I given everything I have and burned my candle at both ends (I have never literally burned for my faith), but have gotten nowhere?
How many times have I spoken, believed, and done things for God, but lacked true impact?
...Too many times to count...
When I read the list of what love is, I wish I could say those all exemplify me... but in reality, God has a lot of work to do.
As usual, Chan has challenged me to look at the intentions of my heart. Am I really doing ministry because of my love for God and others, or am I doing ministry because I love the acclaim and praise I get?
Please soften my heart and begin the much needed transformation within me. I eagerly want to be used for Your glory, to share the gospel and bring hope to others. Help my motivations to be pure. Help me to be rooted deeply in Your deep love for others and Your deep love for me--and to serve out of that love! I need your help. I can't do this on my own. My nature wants all the praise, all the acclaim, all the love from others. Help me to do all things for You, to be noticed and appreciated by You alone. Help me to love others well and serve selflessly, regardless of the cost. I pray that You would give me the strength to follow Jesus' example of how to live a life saturated with love. Please, fill me with your Holy Spirit so that I can fight my human nature and live an empowered life of hope and true love. I cannot even begin to fathom the love You have for me. Help me to serve You with every ounce of my being and love You and others well.