Last week at Common Ground we began a transition to the next era of the BSU. Noah Deyo led worship for us, the first time we’ve had live worship that we didn’t borrow in over three semesters! Next week we will usher in a new leadership team.
Our study last week continued our look into the book of 1 Corinthians with a discourse on chapter 13, “The Love Chapter.” One of the most commonly used scriptures at weddings, people often misunderstand it’s context. The Apostle Paul wasn’t talking about how to keep romantic relationships alive, he was talking about a “more excellent” way for Christians to live than the Corinthian model of prideful competition. Briefly put, three points really stand out from a quick study of the chapter. First, love is what matters most. You can be an incredibly gifted person, but apart from love, you are an epic failure. Paul says that when you live that way, steeped in selfish ambition, you are nothing and your gifts will profit you nothing. That’s pretty harsh. For us that means that motive matters as much as anything. It’s not enough to be great at something, you have to be great for the right reasons. Selfish ambition gets you nowhere.
Second, Paul unpacks the idea of love and what it means. He reminds us that love is really about keeping others first even to the point of sacrifice. If you want to be loving, to live a more excellent life, stop keeping score. Quit carrying grudges. Assume the best of people, even when that seems a little off, even when it doesn’t make the most sense. It’s better to assume the best and be wrong than to assume the worst and be right. Sometimes that will cost us something. Love is willing to pay.
Third, Paul reminds us that love is ultimately a far better way to live than competing and comparing because when everything else is gone, love will remain. Love is part of the character of God. It was His motive for sending Jesus into the world, and when the world is finished that eternal love will still be around. Our job as followers of Jesus is to reveal that. So rather than argue over who can preach, teach, sing, pray, serve, give or lead better, grow up a bit and focus on love.
If you have an extra couple of minutes, read 1 Corinthians 13 right now. It’s only 13 verses. As you do, substitute your own name for the word ‘love’ as you do. See how well that fits. Does something grind? Sound a bit off? Maybe that’s your queue, something to think about and work on this week…