If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love,
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,
but do not have love, I gain nothing.
(1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
“What do you want to be known for?” That was the question a young college student asked me. She was doing an assignment for one of her psychology classes. The question caught me by surprise. Several thoughts began to flood my mind. I want to be known as an honest person, a loving wife, caring mother, trusted friend, as a Christian who loved the Lord. Then the young lady asked, “If you had to pare it down to one word, what would be the one word that best described how you lived and want to be known?”
One word that best describes how I have lived? Is there only one word that can sum up my life? Anybody’s life? I thought of the apostle Paul and the one word he wrote an entire declaration about to the Corinthians, “love”. Boy, I would want to be known for love. I’m not there yet. As the poet, Robert Frost wrote, “I’ve miles to go.”
In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul says, if I have not love... three times. The “love” that Paul speaks about in this passage is rooted in the love of God in Christ for lost sinners. Therefore, we could read the verses, if I... have not Christ. Taken this way, the focus is not on my personal achievements of loving actions, but on the love of Christ in me, enabling me to love as Paul describes in the subsequent verses (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). Christians can only exhale love toward others after they have first have inhaled that love from God in Christ. Yes, love is what I would want to be known for.
As we enter into this season of Thanksgiving, may our motivation and expressions reflect the love of Christ in us. Amen
In His Word,
Reverend Dee Dee Lawson