We all know that there are times when that core thread of love is the only thing that keeps us out there when our question is, “Why am I doing this?” Let us look at love.
Paul was writing to a carnal, sensual, flesh led people in the Greek region of Corinth right outside of Athens. Their identity of love was of self fulfillment. Their particular brand was ‘Eros’ love. Paul was giving direction on how charity, Holy Ghost prompted love, should be the guiding force of the ministry of their church and how differently it was displayed and recognized. Charity, Holy Ghost prompted love, is a love that causes us to love when our flesh normally would not love. Our flesh loves attention, an audience, possessions… basically, it wants what it wants what it wants, when it wants it and how it wants it and will do whatever it takes to get it. But, charity, Holy Ghost prompted love, as described in I Corinthians 13 is not interested in acclaim nor high education on display (v1). Charity is greater than biblical knowledge and even faith (v2). Charity is not about giving things away or wearing ourselves out for a cause (v3). Charity, Holy Ghost prompted love, is patient and kind, not envious nor proud (v4), not unseemly but unselfish, thick-skinned and holy-minded (v5). Charity, Holy Ghost prompted love, does not seek to see what it can get away with but enjoys whatsoever things that please the Lord (v6). Charity, Holy Ghost prompted love, believes that what the Bible says is truth, hopes in its promises, and will stand for it in spite of ridicule or embarrassment (v7). The greatest attribute of charity, Holy Ghost prompted love, is that it never, ever, ever, never fails (v8).
Years ago, two men imparted wise words about the love this passage is speaking of, charity, that have stuck with me. “Stay away from performance based relationships. They will never last.” Gerald Wolfe, June 2000, Ketchikan, Alaska. “No one cares how much you know till they know how much you care.” Pastor Rick Proffitt, August 2010, preaching at Middle Tennessee Baptist Church, Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
My Daddy, Lloyd, gave me the greatest lessons on charity that I have ever learned as he has lived as a husband, father, deacon, teacher, salesman, and most of all a friend. My Mama, Debra, has been the object of my daddy’s love for almost 50 years. I watched her love her elementary students that did not receive love at home, give as the Lord directed her, and dutifully care for her mother as Alzheimer’s stole her away. She also loved me when she would utter these words, “THIS HURTS ME MORE THAN IT HURTS YOU!” My daddy had to show that kind of love a lot more often as I recall. My Chikadee, Angel, my Snuggle Buggle, Abby, and my Sugar Booger, Addy, bring out love in me that I would never know without them in my life.
As we celebrate love this week I pray the Lord will bring to the forefront of our minds the love that He wants us to live, charity, Holy Ghost prompted love.
Long Live Old Time Religion,