What Do You Value Most?

Bible Readings for the day: Psalm 100:1-5, 1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13, Song of Solomon 5:1-8:14
Meditational Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:31b-13:8a, 13
Pastor's Ponderings Illustration12:31b  And I will show you a still more excellent way.
1  If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4  Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
5  or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
6  it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
7  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8a  Love never ends…
13  …So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

What is the most valuable thing in your life?  Your bank account?  Your house?  Your car?  Your life?

That’s not an idle question.  Many people, in times of crisis, come to realize what they value most.  And it’s not always the obvious.  I met a man who survived a savage tornado; he and his family hid out in the basement while the tornado literally tore their house apart and deposited pieces of it over many, many miles.  In the course of our conversation he mentioned that he was thankful that he and his family survived the ordeal–and that was important to him.  But, he told me, they could never put the pieces of their life back together again.  Why?  They rebuilt their house; they replaced their cars; they restored everything they lost except…

Except the memories.  The photo albums; the souvenirs, the wedding pictures; the odds and ends they collected over the years that encapsulated their memories.  They were lost in the tornado, most of them never recovered, blown away with the wind.  That man, and his family, knew what they valued most in this life.

Paul knew what he valued most.  He valued love.  But the word Paul uses for love is not a vague feeling; it’s not a desire; it’s not something that changes.  The love Paul writes about is a love that never changes; a love that grounded in reality; a love that is valuable; a love that costs.  Paul uses the Greek word “agape” in this reading.  In the Bible, agape love is a strong love; it is a love that counts the cost, see that’s its in a losing proposition, and decides to love anyway.  Agape love is the love God has for you and for me.  It is the word (in verbal form) that is in John 3:16.  It is the love that God has for you and for me and for everyone in the whole world.  It is a love that counted the cost, counted the cost of the cross, and acted anyway.

I’ve met numerous people who said they wished to know whether or not God loved them.  I shared with them the fact that they could know that God loved them, loved them personally, by looking to the cross and seeing God’s love proven there.  The cross is proof that God loves me, that God agapes me.

That love, that love of the cross, should overflow in my life so that I love others in the same measure that God loved (and loves) me.  But, because of the sin nature that still clings to me, I do not love in the full measure that God loves (and loved) me.  That failure to love, to love selflessly, is a sin, a sin which I confess, a sin which God forgives for the sake of Jesus my Savior (agape in action!).  That forgiveness, that love of the cross, empowers me to love as God loves (and loved) me.  My love is still imperfect, but God’s forgiveness isn’t.  Living in his forgiveness, I share his love with others.  Amen.

A prayer:  Lord God heavenly Father, thank you for loving me and all people so much that you sent your Son into this world to forgive our failure to love as we ought.  Let me live in your love and share you love with the people around me.  This I ask in your Son’s name.  Amen!

Should you wish to access Pastor Kerner’s sermon archive, you can do so at https://gslcsuffield.wordpress.com/2010/12/08/sermon-archive-2010-2011/

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 585 South St. (Route 75), Suffield CT 06078 USA  http://www.gslcsuffield.com  Should you wish to support this ministry, you can mail a check to the church.

If you liked this post in any way, please think about sharing it on your social media sites.  This is an effective way to evangelize on the internet.  You can also friend me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/james.kerner


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: