“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.