If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-2
When Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, “…he thanked God that they did not lack any spiritual gift.” They were wonderfully gifted people. But the church was in turmoil because of a lack of character. So, this is what he said to them.
Balaam was so gifted, and yet he contributed so little to the advance of the purpose of God. In fact, we would have to say that God’s people were better off without him.
Great gifts bring great responsibilities, but beware of gifts without character. That was Balaam’s problem. He had such great gifts, but he never developed the character to use them wisely. So instead of being an asset, he became a burden to the people of God. They would have been better off without him.
Balaam reminds us that it is possible to be gifted and useless. When a man’s gifts are greater than his character, you can always anticipate a plunge to disaster. You see that in Christian leadership. We praise men for their gifts, but God examines character. We look on the outward appearance—“Look what he can do!” But God looks on the heart.
The greatest danger for gifted people is to assume that God must be pleased with them because they are exercising their gifts. But it is possible to use your God-given gifts and to amount to a great big net zero for His kingdom.
What one step could you take today to cultivate your character so that you do not take a plunge to disaster?