Last night as I was getting ready for bed and taking off my make up, I read through the little plaque on our bathroom wall which has the 1 Corinthians 13 scripture on it. Some people call it the “Love Chapter.” It’s read in many marriage ceremonies, and is quoted a lot. I came to my Bible this morning and read The Message translation of it. Since Valentine’s Day was yesterday, I thought I would share it with you. The Message translation is just a little longer than others, so bear with me here…
“1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
2 If 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.
3-7 If 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.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
8-10 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
11 When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.”
Oh, how I fall short of the definition of love here! How many times have I flown off the handle? How many times do I care for myself more than for others? Do I always look for the best? Never look back? Trust God always? How many times do I put “me first?” I fall flat on my face in all of these things!
Verse 13 sums it all up in what we are supposed to do…trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly and love extravagantly. The only One that can help us do these things is God himself. We can’t do these things on our own. We will try, we will fail, but with His help, we can strive to live our lives that way. How different would our homes, our workplaces, our schools, our country, our lives, our world be if everyone lived in that way, or at least tried to? Can you and I strive to trust steadily in God today, hope unswervingly today and love extravgantly today? I challenge us to all to do just that…just for today!
…And the best of these is love…