"Being there"

Last week my wife had five teeth removed, all in one morning. Ouch. Needless to say, it's been a painful and, due to difficulties with some of the pain medication, nauseating experience for her. As she's been pretty much bedridden over the past several days, my caregiving repertoire has included ice packs, warm washcloths, liquids, soft foods, and simply spending time with her. She has wanted me to be there.

As I've strived to love Lynn sacrificially, I've been reminded of 1 Corinthians 13. This chapter, a perennial favorite for wedding texts, presents God's agape love. Three times in verses 1-3, Paul writes that even if we exercise our spiritual gifts in amazing ways, but don't "love others," it amounts to "nothing."

It is interesting that the "Love Chapter" is sandwiched between two chapters focusing on spiritual gifts and how believers should use them for a "way of life that is best of all" (12:31). Paul's point is that God has given us spiritual gifts to use, but they must be exercised in love, real love that is kind, humble, forgiving, and persevering (vv.4-8).

God reveals that kind of love in the way the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit share a deep and permanent affection for one another. This is the agape that He wants us to show to others, especially our spouses.

If I had simply brought Lynn my "gifts" of comfort this past week, but didn't have God's love in my heart, I would have been a "noisy gong" (v.1) and truly clueless. Loving those closest to us as well as others in the body of Christ requires a sacrificial spirit that flows from God.

It isn't merely bringing your gifts, it's being there because of love. , Tom Felten, Our Daily Journey

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