Most of us are familiar with the phrase “Love never fails.”1 It’s illustrated in children’s devotionals. It’s woven into songs, stories, and poems. I can’t remember a time when this scripture wasn’t familiar to me.
In my younger years, I took it to mean that love was always strong enough to get what it wanted. “Love” held the trump card and could somehow get its way. I guess I had a somewhat manipulative idea of love. I thought it could outsmart, convince, reason and persuade to encourage whatever results were necessary.
I’m sure most of us would look at Mother Teresa and people like her and think we could never be like that; we could never be so saintly or make such a difference in the lives of so many. Maybe not, but the tragedy is that because so many don’t think they can, they don’t even try.
But Mother Teresa didn’t set out to become a saint or a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. And she didn’t start out ministering to multitudes of the poorest of the poor. She just saw the need nearest to her and responded.
I was reading 1 Corinthians 13 today, and meditating on the practical application of the verses. I wrote down my thoughts and hope they’ll be an inspiration to you.
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
In modern English, the word “love” conveys a range of emotions, but the classical Greeks were more precise. They had four words that have all been translated as “love” in English:
Storgē roughly fits our English word “affection,” especially the type of affection within families. It can also be used in a “put up with” type of way—and as most of us know, that is in fact the type of love many of us had for our siblings when growing up.
I teach you how to have love through My own example. For every great miracle I do for you and all those who love Me, I do countless tiny things that you may barely notice. Those steady demonstrations of My care, My unconditional love, My touches of hope, strength, mercy, and forgiveness, day in and day out, continually manifest My love for you. This multitude of little things that I do for you increases your peace and faith. These things nurture the conviction in your heart that I am real and active in your life, and that I will be forever.
It’s easy to be a good person but still be wrapped up in your own little world. After all, you already have more work and other responsibilities than you feel you can keep up with. It’s no surprise that there’s so little time for reaching out to others.
When Jesus told His disciples, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends,”1 He was literally describing His upcoming death on the cross to save humanity. The subsequent events proved that He was willing to give up everything for us, His friends. Jesus’ love is perfect and His friendship is perfect.