Of all the things that endure throughout time, LOVE is the greatest. We need to often remind ourselves of this truth revealed in 1 Corinthians 13 as we navigate through life so that we don’t get off track from walking in our ultimate destiny and to our ultimate destination – the greatest, enduring and most fulfilling treasure of all, Love.
God is love (1 Jn 4:8).
As we walk through life, often we can get so caught up in the business of the moment, our strategies & maps, our cool tools, gadgets and baggage or even the wonder of a moment, that we land up walking in circles and wonder why we’re going nowhere, feeling lost and empty.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a 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 have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing… And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1Corinthians 13:1-3,13)
1 Corinthians 13 unmasks those things that can often lure us off track, revealing that ‘knowing it all’, doing worthy works, great accomplishments and awesome feats, all these things, in and of themselves, leave one unfulfilled, with nothing, an empty clang.
Certainly, wisdom, charity, miracles, power and great accomplishments and fruits are not valueless. The bible clearly values these things. However, they amount to nothing if you don’t find Love in them.
As we walk through life, we need to be looking out for Love, be looking out for Love in everything.
Nicholas Herman of Lorraine (1666), better know as Brother Lawrence, had found this secret in life and said that “he knew his obligation to love God in all things”, “that all bodily mortifications and other exercises are useless, except as they serve to arrive at the union with God by love”
All our Heavenly Father’s commands, as any good father, are directed for His children’s own good, the greatest one of which is: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matt 22:37-39). And Jesus said all the other commands are summed up in these two. Our Father knew our need to make Love paramount and to search it out in everything, and in doing so we would find ourselves, and find ourselves full and whole.
Elijah, who knew great success and power and influence, knew this truth.
And He said, Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord. And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire [a sound of gentle stillness and] a still, small voice. When Elijah heard the voice [the sound], he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. (1 Kings 19:11-13)
In Elijah’s day power was deemed ultimate value as was evidenced at the great show down at Mt Carmel. And though God displayed Himself as all powerful and as the book of Naham declares, “His way is in the whirlwind and the storm”, “the earth trembles at his presence” and “His wrath is poured out like fire”, yet Elijah knew to look further. He heard the voice, God’s communion and He pressed into that intimacy.
God has so many awe inspiring gifts and wonders graciously given and on display that in the moment, we may miss the most treasured of all if we don’t press in further, looking for Love, for the intimacy that He is offering as He passes us by in wondrous ways.
I love what Bill Johnson says, that just like road signs, signs and wonders are there to show you to the God of Heaven. The sign is not the destination, an encounter with God is!
Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:22-23)
Oh, may we live what the Westminster Catechism upheld and Brother Lawrence experienced, “That our only business [is] to love and delight ourselves in GOD.” That we may spend our lives pursuing Love in everything and find ourselves, full and whole.