I Corinthians 13
If I speak human or angelic languages
but do not have love,
I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy
and understand all mysteries
and all knowledge,
and if I have all faith
so that I can move mountains
but do not have love, I am nothing.
And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor,
and if I give my body in order to boast
but do not have love, I gain nothing.
As I look around at all the things that are happening in our society right now, I have a simple question.
Where did the love go?
Before you answer with, “What are you talking about?!?!! I’m full of love!,” let me explain myself.
Lessons In Love
Paul in his letter to the Corinthians makes it abundantly clear that love is the secret, the not so secret, sauce that draws us all together. All the things we do, the charities, programs, giving, etc., doesn’t meet the standard of good work in God’s eyes.
Too many times we humans get so caught up in the good things we do, and we think we are displaying love. Yes, it’s important that we minister, feed people, provide clothing, help the homeless and so many of the other things we do in the service of the Lord. But are we really displaying love? Paul says it’s not enough.
Paul goes on later in this letter to describe the characteristics of love.
Love is: Patient- -Kind- -Isn’t Enviousness- -Isn’t Boastful- -Isn’t Conceited- -Doesn’t Act Improperly- -Isn’t Selfish- -Isn’t Easily Provoked- -Rejoices In Truth- -Bears All Things- -Believes All Things- -Hopes In All Things- -Endures All Things- and finally -LOVE NEVER ENDS-
Take A Moment
As you think about Paul’s description of love, take a moment to reflect how we, believers in Christ, are displaying love as a people and as His body.
Are we being led by the commandment Jesus gave us to love our enemies? Are we addressing each other through the filter of love? When we have a different point of view with each other are we remaining civil and respectful towards the other person? When looking at situations, are we only seeing them from our perspective and aggressively rejecting any dissenting opinions? Are we slow to anger and quick to encourage? Is our love conditional, given only to those with a similar ideology, beliefs or appearance?
Love Them – Period
In Luke 10:30-37, the parable of the good Samaritan, Jesus gives an account to a lawyer of an Israelite who is attacked, beaten, robbed, and left badly injured. What makes this memorable is that a priest and a Levite, two holy men who do God’s work, hurried past the beaten man.
But the Samaritan man, a man from a group the Israelites despised, saw the man, knew he was an Israelite, and took care of him anyway. He tended to the beaten man’s wounds, put him on his animal, put him in a hotel and paid for the man’s care. He showed great compassion to the point of telling the innkeeper if the man needs to stay longer to get better the Samaritan would come back through and pay extra for the Israelite. In the end, Jesus asked who of the three men was the most loving. The lawyer, an Israelite, answered it was the guy who showed mercy, the Samaritan.
This is the level of love, understanding and compassion we should aspire to display. Love is not a finite resource. It is an inexhaustible gift from God that can change lives.
Is it easy to love this way? Absolutely not! This type of love comes through God’s grace and the belief that love is the answer. Paul summarized this by telling us between faith, hope, and love, the greatest of these is love.
John tells us that God is love and if we want to please Him we should look for opportunities to share love always, no matter the person or situation.
James R. Cooper is a Business Strategist, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Maxser Consulting Group, LLC, Pastor of Restoration International Christian Ministries, and author of From Crackers to Caviar: A Guide to Personal Development. James was also a Goodwill Ambassador for UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
Each of the doors God has opened, James’ message of success and clarity of thinking has uniquely equipped him to assist leaders and organizations in breaking through barriers to even higher levels and teaching the principle of making success non-negotiable!