1 Corinthians 13 Common English Bible (CEB)
Love: the universal spiritual gift
If I speak in tongues of human beings and of angels but I don’t have love, I’m a clanging gong or a clashing cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and I know all the mysteries and everything else, and if I have such complete faith that I can move mountains but I don’t have love, I’m nothing. If I give away everything that I have and hand over my own body to feel good about what I’ve done but I don’t have love, I receive no benefit whatsoever.
Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, 5 it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, 6 it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. 7 Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. As for prophecies, they will be brought to an end. As for tongues, they will stop. As for knowledge, it will be brought to an end. We know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, what is partial will be brought to an end. .When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, reason like a child, think like a child. But now that I have become a man, I’ve put an end to childish things. Now we see a reflection in a mirror; then we will see face-to-face. Now I know partially, but then I will know completely in the same way that I have been completely known. Now faith, hope, and love remain—these three things—and the greatest of these is love.
A story is told about a young girl who was baptized and confirmed in the same church. Along with her Father, brother and sister, she attended worship every Sunday, paid their tithes, attended bible study classes. She even thought at some point about going into some type of ministry. Just after graduating from High School, at 17, she came home one afternoon and was told that her older brother was in a bad car accident and that he was in the intensive care unit at the hospital. That evening, she went with her mother and father to visit him in the hospital. Her brother had a collapsed lung, broken ribs and a whole series of bruises throughout his body. It was difficult for all of them to see him lying there in so much pain.
As they were driving home from the hospital, her father, expressed his concern and sadness and prayed to God that it be him laying there
instead of his only son. The next day, age of 42, her father died of a heart attack.
This story is gets even sadder for this young girl because no one from the church came to visit her house. No one from the church called to express there concern and sympathy. For a month or so this young girl sat in the back of the church and cried during the whole worship service, but no one came by to comfort her. Then, the young girl decided that there was no God and no one cared, and she quit attending the church where she didn’t exist.
You see, that church lost its love. And it lost a church member.
Paul tells us that without love, we are nothing!
He tells us without the ability to love, we have nothing.
You can have all the gifts of the world, but without love, you have nothing.
You can speak in tongues and know all the mysteries of the world, but without love, you have nothing.
If you give everything you have, but don’t have love, then you have nothing.
Our mission as a church is to make sure that we leave no one behind like this young girl was. Our mission is to love everyone and to make sure that we don’t allow loneliness that this young girl experienced happen in our church.
You see, that young girl was me. I am thankful and fortunate that my story has a happy ending. I found a Methodist church that loved me and that helped me ease the loneliness in my heart, but it took a long time, and I missed out on lots and lots of love! More importantly, I missed out on giving love to others!
Now faith, hope, and love remain, these three things, and the greatest of these is love.
Let us love our God AND our neighbor with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. Let us notice and take action to help and support those who are suffering and are in need of Love. And perhaps more importantly, let’s keep love in our hearts as we serve our God, and our neighbor. AMEN
— Pastor Carol