Wedding season is upon us. If you attend a ceremony it is likely that you will hear one of the Bible’s most quoted passages. “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. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
Some people like to insert their own names in place of “love” or “it” to remind themselves of the characteristics we should exhibit. If we personified the apostle Paul’s description of love, not only would our marriages be better, but also all relationships inside and outside the church.
An especially striking portion of this chapter is the beginning. “If I speak in tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or 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)
It is very possible to do extraordinary things in the name of Jesus yet have them be useless. Without the spirit of love our good acts, no matter how remarkable, are worthless. Our hearts must be right with God as we serve Him and others.
John Calvin wrote, “The main truth in the passage is this — that as love is the only rule of our actions, and the only means of regulating the right use of the gifts of God, nothing, in the absence of it, is approved of by God, however magnificent it may be in the estimation of men. For where it is wanting, the beauty of all virtues is mere tinsel — is empty sound — is not worth a straw — nay more, is offensive and disgusting.”
In the next few months as we are made aware of weddings or wedding anniversaries let them serve as reminders of how we are to demonstrate the love of God in all of our interactions and endeavors.