“Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:8 (NKJV)”
It was the day of his school’s annual swim meet, and Bobby felt both nervous and excited. He’d been training all year, and he thought he stood a good chance of winning this year’s 50-meter backstroke. Bobby went through his checklist one final time: towel, goggles, swim cap, check, check and check. He was ready! The swimming facility was only a 10-minute walk away from his house, so he had no trouble getting there on time. He got changed, showered and then headed out to the pool. On his way out, he noticed some of his teachers with a look of disbelief on their faces. Immediately he knew something was wrong. “What’s the problem?” Bobby asked. “The swim meet is cancelled.” answered one of his teachers. With wide eyes, Bobby bursted “No, no, no please don’t cancel it, whatever the problem is, we can work around it, I’ve trained so hard. I’ve been looking forward to this day all year!”
His teacher looked at him with sorrow filled eyes then said “Bobby, I’m sorry, but there was a mistake in booking the pool. The pool is scheduled for maintenance. Finding hope in the reply, Bobby let out “Don’t worry about it, I know the guy who manages the pool, if I talk to him, he’ll fit us in.” “Bobby,” replied his teacher, “you don’t understand, the pool is empty.” Now they might have been able to continue the competition without goggles or swim caps and maybe even towels. But if you’re going to swim, you kind of need to have water.
In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul, the apostle, gives an interesting perspective on how we ought to live. He says you can be very knowledgeable, be very generous, even very spiritual, and yet all of those positive qualities can amount to nothing if we don’t treat each other with genuine love. It would seem that love is to life what water is to swimming. Love is the foundation of everything Christian.
So to do anything in the name of God, without love at the core is to miss the point entirely. This doesn’t mean that God can’t use us at all if we don’t love each other perfectly. Food given to the hungry will still help even if the giver doesn’t have the right attitude. But doing everything in love is the ideal that Christians should be striving to achieve, even as we recognize that we still have room to grow. Now considering that love is something so essential, the concept of love seems to be very misunderstood. Everyone has their own spin on what love really means. So how do we know what true love really looks like? Well… by looking to the author of love, the God who is described as being love. It has been pointed out that you could substitute the word Jesus for the word love in the 1 Corinthians 13 passage and it would still be just as accurate.
People often equate love with warm, fuzzy feelings, and while love does include emotions, Jesus shows us that’s just the beginning. Yes, love is patient, but even God has limits to His patience. True love balances patience with healthy boundaries. And yes, love is kind, but true love balances kindness with the ability to make intelligent and sometimes even tough decisions for the good of others.
Jesus showed us that while love is slow to anger, this is balanced with a determination to be firm in the face of injustice. So today leave with this word of encouragement. If you’re going to go swimming, make sure there’s water in the pool. Make love the foundation of everything you say and do. But make sure you learn how to love from the Master of true love In the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:8 Love never fails!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we recognize that living for You means putting love into practice. Thank you for showing us what true love looks like, and help us today to follow your example.