Summary: What is the most important thing in life? How important are the things of this world, fashion, politics, fame, fortune? What should our priorities be? Let’s find out in 1 Corinthians 13.
What is the most important thing in life? How important are the things of this world, fashion, politics, fame, fortune? What should our priorities be? Let’s find out in 1 Corinthians 13
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.”
The attitude of the speaker is more important that the talent of speaking all the world’s languages. Paul, with his great intellectual ability, preaches that love is more important than intelligence. Love is sometimes poorly translated as charity. Love is NOT charity. Giving to the poor is nothing without love.
If I had the greatest faith anyone could have to even move mountains, as Jesus taught, I’m not a somebody. I’m actually nothing without love. The greatest gifts we could give, even our own lives, profit us nothing without love. Giving out of selfish reasons, and not love, is worthless.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
What kind of love is Paul preaching about? He leaves us no doubt. Love suffers long, is kind, does not envy when others are praised, love enjoys and is glad for them. Love does not brag. When we are impatient, envious or brag, it tells us that love is absent.
More love tests: Have we been arrogant, acted rashly, selfish, easily provoked, count wrongs, enjoy unrighteousness? Do we rejoice in the truth or prefer political, commercial, historic, scientific and religious lies? Do we bear all things, believe all things (the best of people), hope all things, and endure all things.
1 Corinthians 13:8-10 “Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.”
All the things that we think are so great in this world will end. In God’s presence we won’t need prophecies, there will be one language, knowledge of this sinful world and its crazy ways will cease, arguments between Christians will cease because we will know what God considers important.
1 Corinthians 13:11-12 “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.”
In a world where our leaders act like children, and our children act insolent towards those in authority, because they have “rights”, then we all need to learn that the most mature things we can learn is love. Our vision of God’s perfect world is incomplete, but we see glimpses.
1 Corinthians 13:13 “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
What is permanent in a temporary world? People die, politics comes and goes, nations come and go, music tastes fade, fashions change, but in the life to come these three will remain. Why is love the greatest of them? Faith and hope are ours, but love we give to others.
The greatest thing in the whole world, in international relations, in our nation, in our community, on our jobs, in our church, in our friendships, in our families, in our marriages is love. Let’s grow up; be men and women of God; learn that love is the most important thing.
New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.