Summary: This series examines the fifteen characteristics of love found in I Cor. 13:4-7.

Would you agree, small details can be very important? Consider the following examples. If you and your family are leaving on a dream vacation to Hawaii, it is important that you remember to carry your tickets. If you and your friends are leaving on a Gulf fishing trip, it is important that you remember to fill the gas tanks in your boat. If you have the oil changed in your car, it is important that the attendant tighten the oil plug. I want to address an area of our lives where there needs to be more detail, our love life. We use this word a lot. We tell our loved ones we love them. We tell fellow church members we love them. We tell our children we love them. Our society uses love to describe the sexual experience. However, words can be empty of meaning. Words without substance are meaningless. It is essential that we give attention to the finer points of love. Ladies, how would you feel if your husband or boy friend told you every day that he loved you but never expressed it in other ways.

Joke: This would be like the couple I heard about. They had been married thirty years when the wife complained that her husband never expressed his love to her. The man said “I told you thirty years ago that I loved you and if I change my mind I will let you know.”

Ladies, do you not want a little detail in your love life? Would not flowers help? Would not a nice romantic evening help? Love is the big theme in the month of February. Valentine’s Day is stuck in the center of the month. During the month of February I want to preach a series entitled the “Finer Points of Love.” This series is taken from I Cor. 13:4-7. I want to take these fifteen qualities, analyze, illustrate, and explain them individually during the month of February. Let’s get started.

Quality number 1: Love suffers long. Love is patient with the other person.

The word long suffering could be translated “long spirited.” The Greek word (makrothumein, GSN3114) used in the New Testament always describes patience with people and not patience with circumstances. It describes the man who is slow to anger and it is used to describe God’s relationship with men. In our dealings with men we must exercise the same patience God exercises with us. (William Barclay commentary on I Corinthians 13)

When we exercise the finer points of love we learn to be patient with other people. We learn to be long suffering with them. Sometimes this is not easy. As a young preacher boy I had my first major experience with a difficult person. This man was mean spirited. This man would do things that hurt other people in the church. I would go to him and address issues. After those meetings I would go home feeling good about my efforts. However, in a short period of time the same thing would repeat itself. I never did see that man change. I later realized there were steps that could and should be taken with such people. However, my point is, it is not easy to be patient. At such times we should pray for the grace of God.

A. We must learn to be patient with people in the church.

• People in the church are not perfect.

• People in the church sometimes let us down.

• People in the church struggle with personality issues.

Illustration: I once had a senior adult lady in a church I served who strained my patience. Her nick name could have been grumpy. Almost every Sunday she would find something to grumble about. If you ever used the word “sex” in the pulpit she would get red under the collar. I remember one time she got grumpy on Sunday and I decided I was going to her house and give her a piece of my mind. When I got to her home, she had baked me two pies. She could be sweet when she wanted and she could be grumpy when she wanted.

B. We must learn to be patient with our marriage mates.

Question: How many of you ladies have projects you are waiting on your husband to finish? (patience)

Question: How many of you husbands have an issue with pillows around your house? (patience) Our pillows are having babies.

It will help your patience if you read Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus. That book explains some of the weird differences between men and women.

Patience is such an important quality. We need it in every endeavor of life. I have coached numerous basketball teams over the years. One of the important lessons that I have learned from those experiences is that you cannot rush natural development. Right now I am coaching a group of kindergarten children in “Upward Basketball.” Those children are learning a lot. However, there are some things that require patience. They need time to develop. For instance, their little hands can only do so much with a basketball. They need time to develop. That requires understanding and patience.

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