Sunday, October 26, 2014

But the Greatest of These...

I want to share with you one of my absolute favorite Bible passages of all time. What earthly poet can write with more elegance and splendor and magnificence?
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.  
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. . .  
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Love. Is there anything better in life? Anything sweeter? Even the most unattractive become attractive when clothed in charity. Similarly, physical beauty is never more quickly lost that with someone whose heart is cold.

Love can make such a difference. It may be easy to "love" that guy who smiles so sweetly at you, but is that really love? True love is a choice. A choice to seek the betterment of another instead of your own. As 1 Corinthians 13 so eloquently puts it - true love is patient and kind and has no evil in its heart. No self-service, no iniquity. This is agape love. Pure and raw and beautiful. It has only been mastered by One, though all humanity should strive for it.

Agape love is when you see that innocent little face looking up at you. When you reach out and wipe the dirt off the cheek of that fatherless little child and give them the shirt off your back. It is when you give your life in service to the poor and the needy and the desolate. It's when you offer hope to the hopeless and give a drink of water in Christ's name. Agape love is when you pray for and witness to the man who shot your mother. It's when you smile at the soldier who has a gun aimed at your face and offer him the plan of salvation and show him the way to forgiveness. This love is deep and full and constant. Once we have received it, we cannot help but give it in return.

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