I have many favourite quotes. What I’m drawn to changes depending on my day, my mood, the lesson I may need to learn.
The following is from 1 Corinthians 13. Just the first three verses. The ones that are usually ignored in wedding ceremonies as people rush to talk about the nature of love in the verses that come after it.
It’s a gentle but pointed rebuke at people like me – people who profess to follow Jesus.
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. 2 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. 3 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
All my fancy words mean nothing if I do not have love. The faith I profess to have means nothing if I do not have love. My sacrifice of all my worldly possessions is useless and for nothing, if I do not have love.
I may turn up to church every Sunday, diligently take down notes when the sermon is preached, go to bible study every week, but if I don’t have love at the core of my actions, I may as well have stayed at home.
The next verse goes on to say love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. Every gentle description of what love is makes me realise that I am far from it.
We can aim for it. Sure. But I don’t think we can consistently achieve it.
There was only one person on earth who loved perfectly and the world killed him. Sent him to the cross to die a brutal and shameful death about two thousand years ago.
He went there of his own accord. A lamb to the slaughter to pay for our sins. All those times I don’t love perfectly, all those times I take down sermon notes and forget to live it out, for all my hypocrisy, Jesus paid for it on that cross.
That love described in my favourite 1 Corinthians 13 passage, isn’t ordinary human love. It is love that can prevent us from perishing, that can find the lost and heal the broken. That love is the love found in Jesus.
And without that, I am indeed nothing.
I like that quote. It’s one of my favourites because it helps me keep things in perspective.
For bloganuary. What is your favorite quote and why?