The More Excellent Way
February is known as the month of love — a time for Valentine’s Day and remembering love and emphasizing the importance of love in our lives.
Each February I remember with a smile (and a little chuckle) a special family Valentine story. Twenty-two years ago, it was the first Valentine’s Day celebration for our son, Steve and his then girlfriend (now wife), Tina. Tina told how me just a few days before how much she was looking forward to it. Steve had decided he would take her to her favorite restaurant but he didn’t think to make reservations. When they arrived at the restaurant the wait was 40 minutes. No problem for Steve, he decided to take her to her second favorite restaurant 20 minutes away on the other side of Dayton. When they arrived at the second restaurant there was a 50 minute wait. They were getting hungry and so they decided to go to another good restaurant down the street and found that the wait there was an hour. Disappointed, extremely hungry and more than a little upset, Tina and Steve had their first Valentine’s Day dinner at a MacDonald’s at 9:00pm.
Steve had good intentions but not good enough to put those intentions into action. In this case, the apple (my son) doesn’t fall very far from the tree (me.) If only I would follow through with all the wonderful, thoughtful things I intend to say to and do for others!
We get so busy and we are often in so great a hurry that we don’t take the time to fulfill these good intentions. Does our busyness and thoughtlessness keep us from living and loving as we truly want to and need to as people of faith — followers of Jesus?
Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians about living day by day a Christian life, he wrote, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Gal. 5:6b) Putting love into action is a true expression of our faith. Love is a verb! LOVE DOES. Ultimately, people will know the extent of our love for God by how well we love people.
During this love month, I challenge you, and I challenge me, to put love into action. We can begin by reading and putting into action the Love Chapter, I Corinthians 13. These words were not written to be read at weddings but were written to instruct the troubled and fussing members of the church at Corinth. Paul told them to put aside competition and jealousy; “let me show you a more excellent way.”
13 If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9 For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10 but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. –Pastor Marla