I think every wedding I have ever attended, whether in a church setting or not, quoted the Bible’s 1 Corinthians Chapter 13. You know the one: “Love is patient, love is kind” … et cetera et cetera.
“The Love Chapter” as some refer to it, is indeed quoted on many art pieces, social media timelines, songs, pictures, wedding invites, and so on. If you have a bible laying around, I highly recommend you pick it up, even dust it off if you need to, and read the whole chapter. By book standards, it is a short chapter containing just 400 words or so depending on the version you might have. And I must admit, this section in its entirety has become my favorite over time.
The writings in this chapter are certainly a blueprint for how we should perceive today’s world and how we should be treating ourselves and others. The titles of the many versions speak to the importance of this writing: “The Way of Love,” “The Greatest Gift,” “Love is the Greatest,” “Love, the Motivation of Our Lives.” Some of the most encouraging and challenging phrases can be found within the content of 1 Corinthians 13. Of the many references to Perfect Love in this chapter, verse 3 really stands out: “If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
So, what are we working towards or for? If we are generous with our time, money, and resources – is the source of that generosity a deep and impactful love? I often have folks tell me their goal is to make a lot of money so they can give a lot of money. That is awesome, and I am sure there is a profound calling for those on the receiving end of those gifts, but we also have to think about if we have love for those in our path between this point and that? Our family, our co-workers, employees, vendors, customers … our neighbors. Are we patient and kind? Have we shed jealousy, boastfulness, pride, and rudeness? Are we not irritable and abounding in forgiveness? Do we covet justice and truth? Are we strong regardless of circumstances (because love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance!)? This kind of LOVE ensures we are intentional with our resources so that we are working towards the three things that will last forever: faith, hope, and love. For the greatest of these is love.