When I say, "1 Corinthians 13:4-13" some of you might stare with a quizzical look drawn across your face. However, if I say, "Love is patient and kind" those of you not familiar with the actual Scripture reference might nod your heads in acknowledgment. I think this particular Scripture might be the most referenced in the Bible... second, maybe, to John 3:16. It's recited at almost every wedding I've ever been to. In fact, I refused to have it read at my wedding for that exact reason... yes, I do have some lingering issues with rebellion. For those of you not familiar with the Scripture, here's some of it (and for those of you familiar with it, it wouldn't hurt to read over it again!):
"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on it's own way; it's not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong doing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends... faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. -1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 13" p. 94
Chan writes the following: "So God accesses our lives based on how we love. But the word love is so overused and worn out. What does God mean by love?" He uses this Scripture as the example God has put before us... on how we should love. The problem, however, is that "... those words have grown tired and overly familiar, haven't they?" p. 94
Chan goes on to share a very interesting challenge that I want each of us to take:
"I was challenged to do a little exercise with these verses, one that was profoundly convicting. The the phrase Love is patient and substitute your name for the word love. (For me, 'Francis is patient...') Do it for every phrase in the passage." p. 94
I could have just stopped at "Deirdre is patient." I lose that battle about one hour into my day... everyday. As I continue on with the passage, I just became more discouraged. Just this morning, I received an email for one of the young ladies that used to sing with me on the worship team at church. She's embarking on an amazing new experience with YWham! I told her to make sure she let's us know how we can pray for her... but I also admitted that I was a little jealous. But, the truth is, I'm a whole lot jealous! Don't get me wrong... I'm completely and 100% thrilled for her and the blessings this experience will bring into her life (as well as all the lives she will touch)... But, man... if I'm honest, I have to admit that there is a part of me that really wishes it was me... that part usually rears its ugly head when I'm surrounded by three screaming kids, a stack of dirty dishes, two loads of laundry and something sticky on the floor that smells somewhat like maple syrup... and if you know anything about my life right now, this is pretty much an everyday occurrence!
But, alas... I am not alone! Chan goes on to say: "By the end, don't you feel like a liar? If I'm meant to represent what love is, then I often fail to love people well. Following Christ isn't something that can be done halfheartedly or on the side. It is not a label we can display when it is useful. It must be central to everything we do and are." p. 94
Share Chan's challenge with someone else. By now, you've probably figured out that I'm trying to get you talking about these things with other people... talking about your faith with other people. For some of you, this is easy. For others, it's a little more difficult. What I've come to realize is that "talking about my faith" does not mean "selling or pushing my faith" onto other people. I've had some of the most amazing conversations by just simply asking people what they think. It's a great way to start a conversation!