Summary: The apostle Paul comes close to being the composer of a great love song in 1 Corinthians 13. Here are three very important things about kindness. (Powerpoints Available - #346)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(REVISED - 2018)
(Powerpoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org & request #346.)
TEXT: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
ILL. A movie shows 2 people in a canoe in the middle of a lake, with a beautiful moon shining above. The sky is filled with twinkling stars. In the background a thousand violins are playing softly as he sings to her. And the song writer says, "That's love." But most of us know that is not necessarily so.
True love is a beautiful thing. A composer wrote that "Love is a many-splendored thing." And a famous line in an old movie says, "Love is never having to say that you are sorry."
But those of us who have been married for a few years know that love contains a lot of apologies. We are often saying, "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that. I don't know what I was thinking. I'll never do it again."
The Apostle Paul comes close to being the composer of a great love song in the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians. In that chapter he pictures for us perfect love - ideal love. Like the song writer, he steps out of himself for a moment & describes how love ought to be.
And in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a he says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
Paul knows what we're like - working men & women in a competitive world where love is not always evident - moms & dads, husbands & wives, sons & daughters trying to relate to one another.
He writes these words & says, "As idealistic & beautiful as this love may be, you & I can actually experience it. In a world that is complicated - in a world with pain & sorrow - this kind of love can & should exist."
Now that is how I began a sermon 3 1/2 years ago titled "Love Suffers Long" based on the first few words of Paul's description of love, that "love is patient." And this morning I want us to look at the next 3 words of Paul's description - "love is kind."
ILL. Some time ago I read a story about a preacher who saw a rather sad-looking man trying to hitchhike a ride on a wet & dismal day. Feeling a surge of pity, he stopped & picked up the hitchhiker.
But when the hitchhiker identified himself as a pickpocket who had just been released from the penitentiary, the preacher began to be a bit apprehensive.
In his uneasiness he became careless & ran a stop sign. A policeman saw him do it & immediately pulled him over, & ordered both men out of the car.
After questioning them, the policeman pulled out his ticket book, wrote out a ticket, & handed it to the preacher. Then he put the ticket book back in his pocket, got back into his patrol car & drove off.
Rather shaken by it all, the preacher didn't say much, but just drove to the spot where he was to let out the hitchhiker. As he got out, the pickpocket turned to the preacher & said,
"Thank you for being so kind to me. And I believe that one kind deed deserves another." Then he pulled out of his pocket the policeman's book of tickets & gave it to the preacher.
Now, I'm not sure what the moral of that story should be, but I'm convinced that it is good to be kind because sometimes kindness produces great dividends.
PROP. So this morning I want to mention 3 important things about kindness.
I. KINDNESS IS POWERFUL
First of all, kindness is powerful. That is something the world doesn't really understand. As the world looks at love, especially God's love, it often sees it as weakness & not as power.
ILL. The German philosopher, Nietzsche, who so influenced Hitler, looked at the Christian world & said that Christianity strips strong men of their power because Christianity encourages people to be kind. They spend their energy trying to take care of the feeble & oppressed.
Nietzsche said, "If we could rid the world of Christianity then we could develop supermen." Nietzsche & all who think like him are wrong, because kindness is powerful. Kindness is love in action.
Probably a good example is the love of a parent. The moment a child is born the parents who know what love is all about begin to think, "We must help this child grow & mature & become a responsible adult." So they sacrifice. They give of themselves. They make certain that the examples they set are good & right.