Tag Archives: The greatest of these is love

And what remains is love

“Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

No doubt, we are all familiar with the great “love chapter” that Paul wrote to encourage us so we would always focus on what matters. It’s not speaking in some exotic tongue, nor prophecy that amazes, nor in great knowledge. Not even in faith that moves mountains, if it is not expressed in love. Not in giving generously to the poor or submitting our bodies to all sorts of hardship. We could have all these things and still, if we have not love, have nothing at all. Without love we are rich only in the poverty of our souls.

But love…that makes the difference!

Love, true love, is ever patient and keeps on waiting. It leads me to examine my heart today and what is my intention for expressing true,  patient love. Pure love is not accidental. It is purposefully kind, not harsh. It actively resists envy or boasting or becoming proud.  This love we seek to have and to share intentionally looks and plans and acts to lift others up, not to put others down,or ridicule or mock them.  Love honors others with great value not belittling or ignoring them. Such great love looks toward the best interests of others, not our own. It keeps us calm, not given to sudden bursts of anger. It forgives and forgets, not remembering where “the hatchet was buried.” This is the love I want to mark my life,rejoicing in truth and abhoring evil.  It is with such love that I protect those close to my heart, by trusting, hoping, and always persevering.

Great love doesn’t fail because it never ever gives up. Oh yes, though we try to deny it, everything else fails and come to an end: prophecy, fancy speech, astounding knowledge – it all comes to an end. These are pieces of our lives but not the whole, and not even close to the most important and lasting part of who we are.  When we stop thinking as children we see more clearly the real life we were meant to live – a life marked by great love.

I wonder if when we come finally to heaven if we won’t need faith because we will be at last truly united with the object of our faith, Jesus. And perhaps our hope will likewise have been fulfilled because what we have so long hoped for has been provided, being one with our Lord. Even so, the one thing that always will remain, that “greatest of these” that will last forever from earth to heaven and all time beyond, is love.

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:7-12

Love is how we are made complete. Who is it that needs your love today?

Love God. Love others in his name.


The greatest thing you can do today


Do you have your to-do list made for the day? Is your calendar filled with appointments? If you’re like me, there’s probably more on the list than can possibly get done! You may be wondering how to make sure you get the most important things accomplished!


A life is made up of years and years are made up of days. Each day is made up of the moments where we live and breathe and try to discover and express our purpose in life – the one thing that is most important in everything we do. What is that one “most important” thing for you?


Maybe you have a voice that others listen to, leadership skills inspires others to follow. Maybe you seek to discover the great mysteries of life and to amass a great volume of knowledge. Maybe you’ve felt compelled to be generous in your gifts and service to benefit others.  We all seek purpose and meaning and want our lives to make a difference. But as good as all these things are, they are not the best. They may be beneficial, but if they lack love, they gain nothing. “Nothing?” you ask. “What about faith? Doesn’t faith matter?” Indeed it does. Faith is the hope that helps us endure. It is the light that shines into the depths of our darkest moments. Faith is the confidence that overcomes fears and speaks truth to doubts. Faith is the conqueror of negative thinking and worry. In fact:


The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself…through love.


What is it about love that makes the difference? Consider Paul’s words:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a


Love is the motivation that stirs us to action. It is the fuel that feeds our engine of activity. Emotions confuse us and fail us. Activity tires us. But love calls us to push on and persevere even when logic and emotions persuade us to give up. Love finds joy in the truth of life. It protects us from selfishness and self pity. It brings hope to our despair. True love, the love that God shows us, never gives up. 


Jesus summarized all the commandments by saying, love God and love others. Love is the greatest thing God did for you and me. Love is what characterizes God. Shouldn’t it be what summarizes our life too? Beyond wealth and even beyond health. Beyond hobbies and politics. Beyond accomplishment and special gifts. Love surpasses all these.


Everything else has an end and passes away but faith, hope, and love remain. I hope you’ll fill your day with these most important things, especially love. 


And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13


How do you say, “Love?”

Our good friends from new Orleans stayed with us recently and we found ourselves talking about accents and how w’all (sort of a personalized y’all) pronounce words differently:
Route – rhymes with boot or out?
Root – rhymes with boot or sounds like ruht?

My mom’s nurse asked her what a particular med was for. Mom told her it was to keep her heart under control. But of course being from The Boston region it sounded like she said to keep her “HOT” under control. 🙂 I figured out a long time ago there are just so many “Rs” in the world. The ones that are dropped in New England (where they “pahk the cah”) are found as extra letters in southern Iowa and Missouri (where they “warsh” the “carr”).

I find these things interesting since I live in central Iowa where it is a known fact that we don’t have any accent at all.

But joking aside, there is another factor of communication and that is, “How do we say ‘Love’?” Not how do we pronounce the actual word, but how do we convey love? After all, most would agree that when all is said and done, love is the primary stuff that makes up a meaningful life: to have loved well and to have been loved deeply.

I wonder how many times we ‘presume’ love is spoken by the lack of other emotion to the contrary. Like Goldie in Fiddler on the Roof when her husband Tevye asks her if she loves him: “Do I WHAT?!” she replies. “For twenty-five years I’ve washed your clothes, cooked your meals, cleaned your house, given you children, milked the cow, after twenty-five years, why talk about love right now?”

You may speak love with gifts, with deeds of service, with gentle and encouraging words, or with quality time. Sometimes there are no words and simple touch conveys love the best. However you speak love, make sure you speak it today. And speak it often.

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:1,13