Summary: Love is a beautiful emotion but it is also a powerful devotion!
Dr. Albert Palmer was the minister of Central Union Church of Honolulu, Hawaii. While serving there he oversaw a massive building project for their church. Just before its completion, the architect asked Palmer to provide him with an inscription to be placed high in the chancel above the pulpit and communion table. "I want you to give me a text of no more than sixteen letter or spaces to fit in that particular space," he said. Palmer pondered over what text to use which would have just the right number of letters and yet would be appropriate for all occasions. It would have to be appropriate at weddings and funerals, for worship services and baptisms, for every season of the year. Additionally, since Hawaii is a place where many races meet, the text had to speak to people of all backgrounds; Hawaiian, Korean, Portuguese, Filipino, Chinese, Japanese and American. So with all those varying needs in mind, Palmer chose these sixteen letter and spaces, "LOVE NEVER FAILS".
People from various situations may visualize love in different aspects, but there are two portraits of love that outshines them all.
I. Love is a Beautiful Emotion
A. Love of a Man to a Woman (a woman to man)
All human beings have an innate tendency to love the opposite sex. We are made to have and to hold somebody with us. The man is for the woman and the woman is for the man. No union outside that structure is God-ordained.
1) Man’s Ways in expressing his love -
When we were younger, we exude various signs of being in love. Some people become extremely self-conscious, even putting mirrors all around their rooms. Others surprisingly become astoundingly thoughtful for the object persons of their love.
2) Man’s Words in expressing his love -
Eventually, upon feeling the first brunt of love-strike, we begin to articulate some words that would convey the message "I love you". Common words become meaningful as the emotion of love colors them – "take care", "how’s your day", and many more. Words that we use in everyday conversations become messages of emotions. They become evolution of the magic words "I love you".
B. Love of God to Men
God has the most amazing love, and the object of His love is the world. John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His Only-Begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life".
1) God’s Ways in expressing His love -
The prime gesture of God’s love is in giving His Son, who was born in a manger in Bethlehem. It is God, in a bodily form, taking the form of humanity, so He can take us back to himself. God expressed his love towards men in ways that man will never comprehend with his limited reason and understanding.
2) God’s Words in expressing His love -
God’s love was expressed in words that men can never match – words of guidance, "go and sin no more", words of deliverance, "father forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing", words of assurance, "today you will be with me in paradise."
C. Love of Men to God
The simply irresistible love of God, which is supposed to be received with reverent appreciation by men, has been treated and regarded as so simple to be realistic.
1) The Ways of expressing man’s no-love
Instead of reciprocating the amazing love of God with contrite awe, man has continually mocked God’s love by his constant rejection. Not many people of today’s generation understand the greatness of God’s love.
2) The Words of expressing man’s no-love
Just listen to what people would say when you share to them the love of God. Man no longer, with faith and respect, articulates the love of God with words of awe.
A man and wife, already senior citizens, are spending the remaining days of their lives alone in a wealthy neighborhood several miles outside a big city. They live in an exquisitely and fully-furnished five-bedroom, four-bathroom, and four-car-garage house, equipped with anti-burglar alarms and monitors. An Escalade and a Lexus LS430 are parked in their garage. Quarters for a private nurse, two housemaids and a driver are at few steps away from the backdoor. Their three children have gotten married and are having families of their own. One night, as they lounge on their king size bed, the woman recalled something; she said to her husband, "Your love has grown cold! You used to be very romantic, gently biting my earlobes while softly fidgeting my nose before we sleep. These days, you never even incline the side of your face to mine. You don’t dare touch my face before we sleep. You have changed!" The man answered grumpily, "These days, you never ran out of complaints", as he promptly got up from bed and quickly budge into the bathroom. The woman blurted, "See, you easily get irritated with the truth, and what do you think you’re going to do in the bathroom?" The man answered, "Give me a second, I’m going to put my teeth (false teeth) on so that I can bite your earlobes all over again."