Funny, as my regular Bible reading landed on 1 Corinthians 13, I kind of wanted to skip it. I mean, good grief, I’ve read it or heard it 10,000 times. But something curious happened as I read the final verse of 1 Corinthians 12. Here’s what Paul says: “And now I will show you the most excellent way.”
Really, Paul? That’s a pretty big offer. Can you deliver on that? The most excellent way? Not a really good way. Not even a great way or an excellent way, but the most excellent way? I really want that. I really want to embrace the most excellent way. So what is it?
First, he tells us a few things it ISN’T. And I’m glad he does, because I might’ve confused some of those for the most excellent way. Really.
What if I could speak and understand, not only the languages of humans, but also angels? Without love—nothing but noise.
What if I were gifted with unlimited knowledge and the ability to sort through information and solve mysteries? Without love—meaningless.
What if I had the capacity to trust God completely, regardless of threats or obstacles? Without love—useless.
Suppose I give away all of my money and my stuff to help the poor? Without love—worthless.
So, what IS the most excellent way?
LOVE. Selfless concern for the welfare of others. (NIV Study Bible)
Breaking it down, Ladies . . .
What if my house is perfectly clean, organized, and decorated? What if my kids are impeccably dressed, make straight As, and have the exact right friends? What if I excel at both my home life and my job? What if I get the promotion that everybody in the office is vying for? What if I plan and pull off the perfect party? Without love, no one is impressed. It’s all worthless. It’s nothing.
I can strive to be perfect, or at least appear perfect. But it’s never truly accomplished. Love, however, never fails, never ceases, never passes away.
Love brings benefits that go far beyond impressions and impressiveness. Love brings rich relationships, peaceful homes, freedom from striving, smiles on faces, joy that’s deeper than happiness, and a “no regrets” life.
Yes. Jesus is the only perfection. Jesus’ way is love. Let’s stop striving, and just focus on loving. It’s the most excellent way.