Hanging on When You Feel Like Giving Up
Christlike love bears with people, offering protection and trust.
Helen Hayes, a stage actress of another decade, was talking about charm when she said, "Charm is that thing which, if you have it, you don't need much else, and if you don't have it, not much else matters." I think the apostle Paul might have used those words in talking about love—agape love. I think he would have said that love is that thing which if a Christian has it, she doesn't need much else, but if she doesn't have it, not much else matters. Certainly that's what he's saying in the first three verses of 1 Corinthians 13. Paul says that apart from love all of our ministry, all of our service, all of our sacrifice accomplishes nothing, makes us nothing, and gains us nothing when we stand at the judgment seat of Christ. Reading the New Testament you discover that love is not optional. It's not a matter for the agenda to be voted up or down. It is essential in the Christian's life. Love is that thing which, if you have it, you don't need much else. If you don't have it, not much else matters.
If not much else matters than love, than we must ask the question, what is love? The love Paul speaks of is certainly not the love of Hollywood; it's not even the love of strong emotions. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Paul defines love by describing love. He shows us what love is by showing us what love does. He dresses love up in a business suit, in a dress, or in jeans, and we see it in action. He says, for example, that love is very patient and it's very kind. I take it that's the headline for the list that follows. Then he gives us eight things that are negative, things that love doesn't do. Love does not envy, he says. It does not look at other people's gifts and talents and abilities and envy them. Love believes ...
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Haddon Robinson was a preacher and teacher of preachers all over the world. His last teaching position was as the Harold John Ockenga Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.