If I know the language ever so perfectly and speak like a pundit and have not love that grips the heart, I am nothing.
If I have decorations and diplomas and am proficient in up-to-date methods and have not the touch of understanding love, I am nothing.
If I am able to worst my opponents in argument so as to make fools of them, and have not the wooing note, I am nothing.
If I have all faith and great ideals and magnificent plans and wonderful visions, and have not the love that sweats and bleeds and weeps and prays and pleads, I am nothing.
If I surrender all prospects, and leaving home and friends and comforts, give myself to the showy sacrifice of a missionary career, and turn sour and selfish amid the daily annoyances and personal slights of a missionary life, and though I give my body to be consumed in the heat and sweat and mildew of India, but have not the love that yields its rights, its coveted leisure, its pet plans, I am nothing. Virtue has ceased to go out of me.
If I can heal all manner of sickness and disease, but wound hearts and hurt feelings for want of love that is kind, I am nothing.
If I write books and publish articles that set the world agape, but fail to transcribe that word of the Cross in the language of love, I am nothing.
Worse, I may be competent, busy, fussy, punctilious, and well-equipped, but like the church at Laodicea—nauseating to Christ.
Copyright 1998 by Elisabeth Elliot Gren, Used by Permission.
Originally published in The Elisabeth Elliot Newsletter, September/October 1998.
Note from Elisabeth Elliot: This is by a missionary student in Indian language school, from The Prairie Overcomer, January, 1955. I was cut to the heart as I thought back over my own attitudes during my missionary work in Ecuador. God knows I needed the above reminder today and every day.