PANNING FOR GOLD
Digging into 1 Corinthians 13 – the “love” chapter
There’s a passage in the Bible that is amazingly good literature. Until recently—I confess—I was so caught up in the beauty and power of the words that most of the message faded into the background. It was not until my small group used this chapter for meditation that I really thought about what it said. (A good reason to meditate on scripture—not just read it!) Here it is:
1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. 3If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love [MSG].
What? I thought. Eloquence, miracle-working faith, works of social justice, and heroism are worth nothing . . . compared to love?
Then rays of understanding came:
An eloquent speech or sermon can excite your emotions, but leave you unchanged. A simple word from someone who really cares about you, lodges in your heart and makes a difference in how you live.
It’s insulting to have to receive help from someone who thinks highly of their own generosity. But kind, gracious assistance makes you feel respected and cared for.
It’s not that eloquence, miracle-working faith, works of social justice, and heroism are unimportant—it’s how you do those things that makes the difference. And love knows how to do them right.
Making It Personal
- Do you have a relationship with a boss, a neighbor, a parent, a son, or a daughter that needs to be oiled by love?
- Which of the descriptions of love in the next four verses of 1 Corinthians 13 could you adopt for your problematic relationship?