Hello! This will be my last article for the Pastor’s Corner for the month of September. It has been a joy to be with you throughout this month discussing some of my favorite Bible verses. Believe me, it has not been easy to narrow down to only four, as I have so many.
The one that keeps coming to me today is from 1 Corinthians 13. I’m sure you are very familiar with the scripture text, but let’s look at it anyway, shall we?
“If I speak in the tongues of humans and of angels but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers and understand all mysteries and all knowledge and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions and if I hand over my body so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
“Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable; it keeps no record of wrongs; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
“Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part, but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.
“For now, we see only a reflection, as in a mirror, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love remain, these three, and the greatest of these is love.”
I know that God is Love.
If we want to know what God is like, we need look no farther than the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians. Since we know that God’s way is the most excellent way as it states in verse 13, then we know that is the way that we, as Christians, are called to live.
You may, like me, see a lot of impatience, unkindness, envy, boasting, arrogance and rude behavior out in the world today. You may, like me, see how demanding, irritating and vengeful people can be.
Of course, that doesn’t pertain to you or to myself but to others that we interact with each and every day! There is a familiar song by Burt Bacharach titled, “What the World Need Now Is Love” The chorus goes: “What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.
“What the world needs now is love, sweet love. No, not just for some but for everyone.”
In paraphrase, what the world needs now is God, Sweet God. God and Love are one in the same.
My daughter and her friend, Rachel, were so much alike that at times they said they were the same person. That’s how I think of God and Love.
I had a former parishioner that came to me after church one Sunday and said to me, “When are you going to preach about something other than love?”
I knew this parishioner very well. Out of character for me I said, “When you get it.” She turned and walked away.
In my mind, I’m thinking to myself, “Did those words just come out of my mouth?” They sure did. I think it was a God moment.
It wasn’t meant just for her; it was meant for me and others as well.
Repetition, I hear, is a good learning tool. We need to be reminded and encouraged on a continual basis to live a life worthy of our calling as Christians.
At the top of that list is love. We can have the nicest house, car, bank account, family, church, friends … we can have everything that this world offers us, BUT if we don’t have LOVE, we gain nothing.
I am not able to change anyone’s behavior around me. I can only change mine. As you go throughout your day, don’t forget to take a heart of love with you out into the world, because you just never know who might be watching you to see how you react in any given situation or circumstance.
Our best witness is not in our words — it is in our actions. If you want to know how to act, look no farther than the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians 13. I pray a life filled with God’s love over you this day. I look forward to being with you again in March, I believe.
Love and Blessings.
Rev. Lynette Barnett pastors at First United Methodist Church, Forrest and Chatsworth
This article originally appeared on Pontiac Daily Leader: Pastor's Corner Rev. Lynette Barnett 1 Corinthians 13