Friday (3/27/20) - Lord God, by your Word fill me with a spirit of love and servanthood
1 Corinthians 13:1-13 - 1If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. 4Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 8Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless. 11When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 13Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
The classic passage on love. While these verses are often used at weddings, they should have a far greater reaching impact in our lives. The Apostle Paul was not addressing husbands and wives but every Christian. In chapter 12 Paul introduced the concept of spiritual gifts – special God-given abilities that every Christian receives to use to build the church. Paul then goes on to discuss how the church is like the human body which is made up of many different parts that each have a specific purpose allowing the body to function most effectively and efficiently. When one of those parts doesn’t do its job correctly, the whole body suffers in some way.
As chapter 12 transitions into chapter 13, Paul focuses our attention on our motivation for using these spiritual gifts. You could be the most eloquent speaker and convince everyone to do the right thing, but if you do it out of the wrong motivation you are just making noise. You could have some of the more visible and what are often viewed as powerful gifts like prophecy and knowledge and faith. But if you use them without love, your gifts are worthless. You could feed the poor and sacrifice everything you have including your life, but if you do it without this motivation of love, all your efforts are wasted.
In these difficult and frustrating days, it can be hard to love. Now that many of us are “homeschooling” in some way or another (by the way, I thank God for our teachers!!!) it can be so easy to forget about love. I have talked to so many parents and kids who are frustrated and angry and worn out. Even I can forget how much I love my boys when we are trying to get through an essay or math assignment. I have to remember that while I can help them get an A on their work through driving and yelling, maybe it would be better if they got a C and they walked away knowing how much I love them.
So far this week, I have encouraged you to show your love to everyone. Today, why not focus on your most important people – your family. Tell your kids or your spouse you love them. But don’t just say it; actually do it. Love on them as you want to be loved. And when you can’t seem to get your point across and the tensions start to rise, take a deep breath and remember that out of all the things you do our motivation has to be love. After all, love lasts forever!