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Summary: A sermon about the only thing that lasts.

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1 Corinthians 13:1-13

“What Gives Life Meaning?: These Things Shall Fade Away”

In his book “Soul Grafiti: Making A Life In The Way of Jesus” author Mark Scandrette tells about a person he met who lived in an abandoned school bus.

The man was bitter; he hated God; he hated life.

And so Mark and some of his friends decided that this was a guy they needed to “love,” if they were going to live like Jesus.

They began visiting the man several times a week, bringing groceries, helping to cut his hair or clip his toe nails, and clean up around his camp.

Gradually, he began to trust their friendship and revealed more about himself.

His name was Robert, and he had been estranged from his family after years in mental institutions.

Over time, Robert’s health started to deteriorate, and by December he could hardly walk.

Scandrette writes that Robert told him, “I am going to kill myself on New Year’s Eve.”

“I would be really sad if you choose to kill yourself,” Scandrette told him.

“Why should you care if I live or die?” Robert asked.

“Robert,” Scandrette told him, “you are valuable to God and to the people who love you. We would miss you.”

“Nobody ever cared about me,” Robert protested.

Scandrette writes, “At Christmas we decided to throw a party for Robert, including his favorite foods and a birthday cake.”

“There was a full moon on that December evening when I knocked on the door to Robert’s bus.”

“He came out…with a young woman, who we knew worked as a prostitute, along with one of her ‘clients.’”

Scandrette continues, “We ate by candlelight serenaded by music from a transistor radio.

Robert declared that the food—a collection of favorite dishes he requested—was delicious.

After dinner my wife Lisa put candles on a cake.

‘Let’s sing Happy Birthday to someone who hasn’t celebrated their birthday in a while,’” Scandrette suggested.

“Who could we sing Happy Birthday to?”

“Just then, beaming, our 3-year-old son Noah blurted out, ‘It’s Christmas, let’s sing Happy birthday to Jesus!’”

Scandrette writes, “I panicked, The name ‘Jesus’ was the worst thing I could imagine mentioning in front of Robert, and I waited to see how he would react.

Slowly, with a big toothless grin, he said, ‘Yes, let’s sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.’”

Scandrette continues, “Under a clear and starry night the eight of us sang together—Lisa and me, a streetwalker and her john, a sixty-three year old transvestite, and three small blond children with red cheeks.”

Scandrette finishes, “As I helped Robert back into his bus, he turned to me and said, ‘This was the best night of my life. Thank you!’”

What gives life meaning?

Those to whom Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13 were searching for meaning in their own accomplishments…


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