"Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, and have not charity, I am as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." 1 Corinthians 13:1-2
This is the heart of the gospel and it represents the heart of God.
It's OK to have the best theology.
It's a good thing that you tithe.
It's a good thing that you give to food banks.
It's a good thing that once a year you fill your quarter packet for the missionary fund.
It's a good thing that you read your scriptures.
It's a good thing that you go to church regularly and that you are part of the small core group on Wednesday night.
Paul was being facetious about understanding all mysteries and having all knowledge and having all faith, but the point was made to reveal that even if you did possess those attributes, they are not the measuring stick for true spirituality.
Charity as used in this verse is from the Greek word agape, (ag-ah'-pay). This word agape means love, but in the deepest sense, like a love feast. In other words an irresistible urge to do something, a compelling that is so strong that you fall over yourself trying to accomplish it.
The reason Paul defines the importance of this agape love is to make sure that you aren't still trying to move up the spiritual ladder by your good works, your performance, your ability, your skills, your education or your disciplines. All of these are good, but you know people that have advanced skills and yet they are austere or hardened in their character, lacking sensitivity and lacking agape. You can be real smart and be mean to the people around you. And for the businessmen out there, there is no separation from business and faith. Who you are and the way you treat people at the workplace is the real you. Anybody can put on a smiley-face for church.
It's everywhere, every day that God calls you to operate in agape love. It is the discerning factor in Christianity. It is the difference in religious philosophy from one world religion to another. It is the God factor. Superficial love sickens God. Agape love is God. You can operate in this agape love. Pray before making decisions. Think diligently before answering back. Allow the decisions of your inner man to rise to the surface before speaking. Let the Christ in you shine forth from you.