A Little Perspective From an Old Book

If I have the language perfectly and
Speak like a native
And have not His love,
I am nothing.

If I have diplomas and degrees and know
All the up-to-date methods,
And have not His touch of understanding love,
I am nothing.

If I am able to argue successfully against
The religions of the people and make fools
Of them and have not His wooing note of love,
I am nothing.

If I have all faiths and great ideals
And magnificent plans
And not His love that sweats
And bleeds and weeps and
Prays and pleads,
I am nothing.

If I give my clothes and money
To them and have not love for them,
I am nothing.

If I surrender all prospects. Leave home
And friends and make the sacrifices
Of a missionary career and then turn
Sour and selfish amid the daily
Annoyances and slights of the missionary life,
Then I am nothing.

If I can heal all manner of sickness
And disease but wound hearts and hurt feelings
For want of His love that is kind,
I am nothing.

If I can write articles and publish books
That win applause but fail to transcribe
The word of the cross into the
Language of His love,
I am nothing.

From a sermon by Stephen Brown, as quoted in Paul Hiebert’s book, Anthropological Insights for Missionaries

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