Summary: True love is a commitment that two people make to one another, not a hole in the ground into which they happen to fall.
Maybe you heard about the guy who fell in love with an opera singer. He hardly knew her, since his only view of the singer was through binoculars—from the third balcony. But he was convinced he could live “happily ever after” married to a voice like that. He scarcely noticed she was considerably older than he. Nor did he care that she walked with a limp. Her mezzo-soprano voice would take them through whatever might come. After a whirlwind romance and a hurry-up ceremony, they were off for their honeymoon together.
She began to prepare for their first night together. As he watched, his chin dropped to his chest. She plucked out her glass eye and plopped it into a container on the nightstand. She pulled off her wig, ripped off her false eyelashes, yanked out her dentures, unstrapped her artificial leg, and smiled at him as she slipped off her glasses that hid her hearing aid. Stunned and horrified, he gasped, “For goodness sake, woman, sing, sing, SING!”
This chapter is not a definition of love, but rather a display of how love is to make a difference each and every day of our lives.
12:31 Paul is showing the superiority of Love to all gifts
Eloquence was greatly admired in the first century,
It was a statement of hyperbole concerning exalted eloquence, which if void of Love might be momentarily electrifying like a clash of cymbal but then vanished just as quickly.
vs.2 , 3 Even self-sacrifice can be self-centered and even the ultimate sacrifice is futile without love.
Love is the greatest! It’s essential in our service for Christ. Without it, we ACCOMPLISH nothing, we ARE nothing, and we are PROFITED nothing.
“Love is...” Patient
“Charity suffereth long” We are willing to bear offenses and suffer their ill-treatment without attempting to retaliate.
A good illustration of Christlike patience is seen in the life of Abraham Lincoln. From his earliest days in politics, Lincoln had a critic, and enemy, who continually treated him with contempt, a man by the name of Edwin Stanton. Stanton would say to newspaper reporters that Lincoln was “low cunning clown” and “the original gorilla.” He said, “it was ridiculous for explorers to go to Africa to capture a gorilla when they could find one easily in Springfield Illinois.” Lincoln never responded to such slander; he never retaliated in the least. And when as President, he needed a Secretary of War, he selected Edwin Stanton. When his friends asked why, Lincoln replied, “Because he is the best man for the job.”
Years later, that fateful night came when an assassin’s bullet murdered the president in a theater. Lincoln’s body was carried off to another room. Stanton came and, looking down upon the silent, rugged, face of his dead President, he said through his tears, “There lies the greatest ruler of men the world has ever seen.” Stanton’s animosity had finally been broken.. How? By Lincoln’s patient, long suffering, non-retaliatory love.
No matter how much love is ill-treated or scorned, how much it is ignored or neglected, how little return or requital is made of it, yet it suffer all these things and stays kind.
“Love is...” Kind
To be kind is the active outworking of love. To suffer long is the passive side. “Kind” = to be mild, gracious, easy on other people. It means volunteer to share the burden, help carry the load.
The Sunday School Times told of an elderly Christian who was a shut-in. She said, “I have two daughters who take turns cleaning my small home. Jean comes and makes everything shine. Yet she leaves the impression that I’m an awful burden. But when Mary comes, no matter how dull the day or how low my spirit, she’s so cheery that my heart is tuned to singing. Above all, she makes me feel that she loves me. They’re both good Christians, you understand, but what makes the difference in their attitudes! Mary has the extra touch of grace that this old world so badly needs. She does everything with a loving heart.”
What is our attitude in helping others? Do we assist people grudgingly, making them feel like a burden, or do we demonstrate heartfelt concern that leaves them uplifted and blessed?
I’ve had a happy marriage for many years because I whisper three little words in her ear, twice a week: “Let’s eat out!” — Laurie Baker, Better Families, Vol. 18, No. 11, November, 1994.
Patience and kindness are directly parallel to the two dominant aspects of God’s love, which are “mercy” and “grace.” Mercy means that God does not give us the bad things, the judgments, that we deserve for our sins. Grace, on the other hand, means that God does give us good things, blessings, that we don’t deserve.