From an article originally posted November 15, 2013…
1 Corinthians 13, perhaps the most quoted book of the Bible. Quoted at weddings, events, funerals, this chapter of the Bible is the happy love chapter. I have not been able to get one phrase out of my mind: love never ends. Do you realize the implications of these three words in scripture? It means never as in never ever, ever.
I have been witness and subject to too many people that withdraw love in the midst of hurt. There is always the temptation to pull away in the midst of disappointment. We are often unkind when we face an unmet expectation and withdraw our love from those we are called to love. I have to fight this temptation, too—love when you’ve done well, love when you have met an expectation, love when you are in favor, love when you are funny, liked, worthy. But what if this eternal kind of love wants you to love when you are angry, love when you are bent out of shape, love when you are at the end of yourself.... What if this kind of love wants you to love beyond those who are deserving and lovely? Love in an eternal, sacrificial, not-about-you way.
There is debate among my medical team about how much time I have in this place. It causes me too often to think on what exactly I want to give myself to with my remaining time. I have recently turned down things that weren’t things I desired to give my extended time to that didn’t feel redemptive. But these three words keep ringing through my ears. Love NEVER ends. These three words keep echoing through my mind as I face each new day.
I desire things in my life that will never end, the temporal stuff is fading, fading fading from importance. I still want to redecorate the kids rooms, I still want to buy fun Christmas presents, I still want to go on vacations, cook dinners, have girls nights out; but my motivation for these things, my end in these events and things, has changed, and certainly my priority with these events is no longer the same.
Could that mean the love I’ve invested in my guy, my kids, my friends, my community, my neighbors will go on and on and on past me? Could it mean the love I invest will meet me in eternity, carry those I love, sustain those I love forever? But here’s the kicker.... It’s not my love, it’s the sacrificial, selfless, not-about-me love, that Jesus gives that will stand the test of time. It’s the love given to me today to lavish on the unlovely, poured out on the unfriendly, and given even-when-it-isn’t-deserved kind of love that only Jesus can give.
The God-given kind of love will never end. My love is limited and marred. My love is choosy and grumpy, and wants to withdraw when inconvenient, but the love from God given to me to give pushes past those things, fills a love cup more full than I could ever imagine, and that love will go on and on and on far beyond my reach and my days. What if this kind of love can be given to me in the midst of my grumpy hungries? Miraculous! In my own strength, I could never do that, but in Christ all things are possible.
This morning, this day, this weekend, will you allow yourself to be so recklessly loved by Jesus that you love the unlovely, the unworthy, the child on the floor in an angry fit? Will you seek to know the love of Jesus so you can extend never ending, eternal, unlimited love of Jesus to another? First you must know His love, then, this crazy kind of love is possible. I love you today dear reader.... I do!