Can everything really boil down to one word? One action word?
Hard to believe but it appears the answer is yes.
The next Post-it flag from my now dusted off NLT study Bible is stuck in the middle of 1 Corinthians 13.
Even the chapters heading states “Love Is The Most Important Thing.”
The first three verses indicate that we can have or do or be anything, BUT love is the key. If I don’t love others what’s the point? Spiritual gifts, talents, sacrifice … All nothing if not done of love for others. Nothing. This is stated at the end of each verse. All meaningless without love.
Why is love the key?
Have you ever been around someone doing something because they have to? Out of sheer duty? Definitely a difference from someone who does their job or serves others because they truly love and care for people. Think about teachers, retail staff, you get the idea. There is a huge difference when there’s love involved. You can feel it when you talk with someone, when you ask a question and they truly listen and respond to you. I have experienced this with several of my friends and am thankful for their love and how they show they care for me. I have experienced this with customer service, when you can tell the person helping you cares about your needs and concerns and truly does his or her best to help you. I have experienced this at Disneyland, the people there all love working there and you can feel it in the atmosphere. I have experienced this with my husband and family when they do simple little things just because.
Love changes everything. Love put others first. Love is at the heart of what Jesus did for us on the cross so of course it’s the most crucial piece of the puzzle.
So what is love anyway?
Not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.
Willing to give up my desires for the good of others.
Does not demand it’s own way.
Not concerned with it’s own interests.
Keeps no record of wrongs.
Does not rejoice about injustice.
Rejoices when truth wins out.
Never gives up.
Never loses faith.
Endures through every circumstance.
Other things may fade away and be useless, but love will last forever.
Forever. I look through that list and think about my actions and behaviors. What do I want to last forever? What do I want others to see in me? I struggle with patience, being irritable, giving up, enduring. Loving others may be hard sometimes, but the reward comes when that joy I talked about yesterday bleeds through every part of my life and my attitude changes. I think often of Grandpa Stone when I think of joy. He was always joyful. He sang songs. He told jokes. He smiled. He loved. Everyone around him responded positively because, well, how could you not?
“Three things will last forever–faith, hope and love–and the greatest of these is love.”