1 Corinthians 13
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 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.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
What's Love Got to do With It? Everything.
This is one of those Biblical passages that even non-believers know. It usually gets trotted out for weddings or is used on a power point slide show with pictures of kittens and babbling brooks. I'm all for the Word being spread regardless of form so I support however it goes out. But for those of us who are believers, this isn't some collections of sweet thoughts. This is a call to action.
Why we do what we do matters. We can't just settle for doing the right stuff. As disciples of Christ, we have to do the right stuff for the right reasons, with the right attitude and with a healthy dose of respect for authority. All that, whether we're buying a stranger a cup of coffee on a cold day, or donating the seed funding for a multi-million dollar building. Our motives matter.
And our motive requirement is love.
Everything our Savior and Lord Jesus did started from a place of love. It didn't matter if He was laughing a group of small children or throwing money changers out of the temple, He was always motivated by love. Love of the Father, first and foremost and love of the Father's people. Jesus confirmed this Himself:
King James Version (KJV)
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. That is powerful. First God, then our neighbor as ourselves.
I'll leave it to theologians to argue priorities among people. What I have to share is this:
We have a call to arms...loving arms. The warfare we walk in is a spiritual one and it is founded on and propelled by love. Love of the Father, and love of mankind. We must love the Father enough to be obedient and to accept His gift of 'so loved', the sacrifice of His very Son for us. And we must love our neighbor enough that we would lay down status, reputation and all the trappings of the world to show him or her the love of God.
The obedience equips us for our battle and gives us the actions of our battle plans. Everyone is called to a purpose, but not the same action. My left hand can't do what my right ear does and vice versa. But, I'm not willing to give up either one of them voluntarily. So it is in the Body of Christ. We're not all called to stand in a pulpit but we are all called.
And the reason for our callings is love.
The actual language in 1 Corinthians 13 is beautiful. But I encourage you to look beyond the beauty of the language and see the beauty of the Lover. Jesus withheld nothing for you...for me. Whatever was necessary for us to be restored to the Father, He paid for with His very life, out of love. We are as restored to God as in the first days of Eden if we choose to accept and confess that Jesus is Lord.
And if He's Lord, then we should love God first and our neighbors as ourselves. Then we'll walk as He walked and live as He lived in obedience to the Father, fit for The Master's use.
So, love because we've been 'so loved'.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
I hope those of you who are regular readers of this blog/email share these words with both saved and unsaved. We should love our neighbors enough that we give every opportunity we can to introduce Christ.
30 Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.
31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
Our charge is to lift Him...He'll do (and has done) everything else.
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