First, a note: Friends: Over the past 4 months, I have been going through a major transition, per se. I have just finished 47 yrs in operations management with the same employer and have become ordained as a Chaplain through Christian Chaplains and Coaching, Org. I am not sure that I will continue to provide Let There Be Light on any sense of a regular basis. I plan to invest most of my time in chaplaincy ministry and in training volunteers in spiritual care in the long term care, elder care service arena, and hospice care, within the same company I have been with since 1975. Thank you for being with me these past few years in the work of Let There Be Light. dh
And now for today….
We all have heard and seen this passage from I Corinthians, on ‘Love’, used in so many various applications and ways. So often, the application is used out of context related to Paul’s message to the Church at Corinth and God’s intent for this passage. My pastor, David Niednagel, provided this understanding in this morning’s devotional. David uses the S.O.A.P. method of study in his morning devotional time. Study, Observe, Apply, Pray. Thank you David.
Love That Lasts
13:4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. NLT
I used to hear this famous passage read at weddings, but not so much anymore. So many of us think of it in a context of romance and marriage, and that is appropriate, but think of how this sounded to the Corinthians and all that Paul has written up to this point. “Love (agape) will suffer for a long time without giving up on the other person. It is kind. Not jealous (envious) or proud. and does not demand its own way” But they were very jealous/envious, wanting their group to have the power and supremacy in the church. They were demanding their own way. Paul said love does not keep a record of being wronged – but they were taking one another to court. It does not rejoice about injustice, but they were bragging about their tolerance of a man living with his step mother. They were redefining situations to make them sound ok, instead of wanting the truth to win out.
:7 says love never gives up – the root of the word “gives up” is “steg” – as in Stegosaurus. What” How can that be? What is distinctive about a stegosaurus? The huge bony plates on its back – which cover and protect it. Paul is saying love covers and protects others from harm. It certainly does not look for the weaknesses in the other person to attack them. But the Corinthians thought and acted like the world, even though they bragged about their spiritual gifts. Love keeps trusting God and is always hopeful – because Jesus rose from the dead and is coming back. He wins. Righteousness wins. Evil does not win, so those who love always keep their eyes on the Lord and do not lose hope. And it endures – that word literally says it “stays under the load” till the Master removes it. He knows what burdens we carry and He loves us. He will give us grace to help (Heb 4:16) till He removes it. And the good news is that our burdens seldom last more that 70 or 80 years, and he feels and bears our burdens with us “In all their suffering he also suffered”, (Isa 63:9), and “When you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” (Matt 25:40). Paul says if we share in suffering with Him we will also sharing in his glory (Rom 8:17). Peter says the same thing, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (1Pet 5:10)
Lord, when I hear this passage, i like to feel good, but help me hear it like You wanted the Corinthians to hear it – letting You shine Your light in my heart and exposing the places I want to ignore and excuse. Help me remember what You endured for me and help me be willing to give Your love to others, protecting and covering them in prayer longer than I would on my own. Help me keep my confidence in You, more than in people, but then be able to truly endure in loving them. You know some people I want to give up on. Help me truly love with Your love. Amen
Friends: I add this as a thought provoking piece…….When we think about being ‘light’ to the world and demonstrating God’s type of Love to people in the world around us on a daily basis… How do you think people would feel if someone related to them this way:
- They are patient with you all the time.
- They are kind to you all the time.
- They never envy you or begrudge you for your possessions or your position.
- They are more focused on you than on themselves.
- They are not arrogant.
- They are never rude.
- They are not self-seeking. They never have a self-centered ulterior motive.
- When you are unpleasant or unjust toward them they are not provoked.
- They don’t keep score of your wrongs against them.
- They take no pleasure in your demise or in the bad behavior of others.
- They are a flowing fountain of honesty and genuineness.
- They hold up under all pressure.
- They constantly maintain the focus of their faith in the Truth.
- They maintain these traits under any and all hardships.
- They never let you down.