The Power of Love – Focus Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
All we need is love; at least that’s what the songwriters, poets, movie producers, and others would have us to believe. The Apostle Paul, in his first letter to the Church in Corinth, also believed in the importance of love.
Today’s scripture associates the word love with friendship, endearment, or affection toward other people. Elsewhere in the Bible, both the Apostles Peter and Paul equate love with charity and hospitality. In a general modern-day context, we define love or charity as “benevolent goodwill toward humanity.”
There are both spiritual and psychological benefits to loving others. Writers refer to this as a “helper’s high” or the “Mother Teresa effect.” Some scholars have noted that an actual change in brain chemistry occurs within people after they have done something charitable. Specifically, the act of giving produces endorphins and reduces stress hormones in a similar way that exercise does.
Many of Paul’s followers in Corinth had started to bicker among themselves and to boast that their gifts were better than those bestowed on other members of the community. When confusion and hard feelings ensued, Paul had to remind the congregation that they don’t operate independently of one another. The Apostle taught them that within the body of Christ, there should be no divisions. He attempted to bring an end to the conflict and encouraged members to strive toward a common purpose, to be guided by a unified vision, to be governed by a more excellent way – love.
The love Paul talks about manifests in benevolent attitudes and actions towards fellow human beings. When people possess this kind of love, what shines through most is not the forcefulness of prophecies or the speaking in tongues or having vast knowledge and wisdom. What shines through is the compassion and mercy rendered toward another person created in the image of God.
Love never fails: It is a unifying vision, and it can be expressed through acts of charity, philanthropy, and generosity extended to persons in need of a helping hand. Such love is one of the noblest expressions of the human spirit. It can promote goodness and kindness even in the midst of the most intolerable situations.
Gracious God, we thank you for your mercy and for giving us the capacity to love, for love is your more excellent way. We give you honor and praise in the name of Jesus. Amen.