Pastor's Desk November 2018
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
(I Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV)
I will never forget an eye-opening experience Jane and I had when we were still dating. Being in the love-struck frame of mind I was in, I showered her with flowers and other gifts frequently. One day during one of our very honest conversations she told me “I really don’t like flowers.” I was somewhat stunned by the comment but as we talked, I began to understand what she meant and also that I found a very special woman.
Jane explained that there was the cost of the flowers and candy and other stuff that I gave her but that the most important thing to her was the giving of myself. Love to her meant personal time spent together. It meant self-sacrifice more than money, cards, or flowers. I’ve learned a lot from my wife over the years but that event that occurred before we were even married is one of the most treasured memories I have of our relationship.
It’s ok to share gifts and do good things for our spouses and friends. But we must always be on guard against equating love with things. Paul’s thirteenth chapter in I Corinthians is a masterpiece of writing that explains the true nature of real love.
The Corinthian church had swerved off tracked theologically. Paul had founded the church but there were people and cultural trends that were misleading the church. Perhaps the significance of what Paul is saying in I Corinthians 13 can be found in the last sentence of Chapter 12. Before he begins to explain love, he says: “Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way.” (I Corinthians 12:31)
Yes, before Paul begins his famous love chapter, he makes clear that he is not pandering to the popular views of the Corinthian culture. He is encouraging the Corinthians to take the highest view of the most important concept of Jesus Christ. I John 4:19 says:
“We love because He first loved us.”
Our understanding of love as believers begins with God’s great love for us through creation. It is given substance in the birth of his son Jesus. And it comes to fulfillment in the death of Jesus on the Cross.
Over 20 years ago, when Jane’s best friend learned that she had told me she didn’t like flowers she said, “She’s gonna regret that one day!” But I don’t think Jane has ever regretted the special love we share that is beyond anything earthly.
I treasure my wife and hope all of you will learn the true meaning of love as we have. It’s appropriate (and wise!) to do special things on Valentine’s Day. But remember each and every day that true love is not based on things but on self-sacrifice as we learned from our Lord Jesus.
Have a great month and a Happy Valentine’s Day,
From the Pastor's Desk 2018
From the Pastor's 2017