Love never fails!
Scripture reading for July 23rd: 1st Corinthians 13
Paul had explained the various gifts of the Holy Spirit and how God distributed them to each person as He desired in order to help the believers. As wonderful as these gifts were, Paul emphasized the need to allow the love of God to saturate each person as a foundation for proper exercise of the gifts.
“And now I will show you the most excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophesy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (1st Corinthians 12:31-13:3) The Corinthians were actively using the gifts but some had gotten prideful concerning how God was using them. They lacked the love that made their gifts ‘excellent’.
“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.” (1st Corinthians 13:4-8) Paul gently instructed the Corinthians and us about the way of love. Pride and arrogance block God’s excellent way of love. Anger and rudeness stop the common good that should result from God’s gifts in operation. The way of love protects and trusts and hopes for God’s best. In the end, love never fails to produce the ‘excellent way’!