November 26

Read I Corinthians 10 -- 13

In Today’s Reading:

Guidelines for worship; the Lord's Supper; spiritual gifts; charity (love), the greatest gift.

Surprising as it may seem to the world, from God's point of view it is more important to be known for your kindness, thoughtfulness, and being considerate of others than being a famous evangelist, preacher, or teacher: For though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love (agape, the God-kind of love), I have become like sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal -- just a big noise (I Corinthians 13:1).

It is also more important to be known for one’s love, as God loves, than to be the most prominent prophetic speaker in the world. Paul went on to reveal this God-given ability to love: Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries . . . and though I have all faith . . . to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing -- nothing but a hindrance (13:2).

The world will praise someone who is highly successful in distributing tons of food and clothing to the poverty-stricken; but Paul adds: Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing (13:3). A gift given without God-kind of love returns no spiritual value to the giver and no eternal value to the one who receives the gift. In contrast, Jesus said: Whoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in My Name, because you belong to Christ, verily I say to you, he shall not lose his reward (Mark 9:41; comp. Matthew 10:42).

Love suffers long, and is kind (13:4). It does not vaunt itself, meaning it does not insist on its own way, is not self-seeking, quick to take offense, or resentful. Love does not think evil of anyone. This God-kind of love is very patient -- never envious or boastful. It is not conceited, with inflated ideas of its own importance, and is never rude to anyone.

Another dimension of love is that it does not behave unseemly, seeks not her own . . . thinks no evil (13:5), meaning it is tactful and polite and keeps us from being rude. Love has a way of making us more concerned for the feelings of others and less preoccupied with our own rights; while, at the same time, keeping us from holding grudges for wrongs that have been done to us. The love of God keeps us from always trying to grab the best for ourselves. Thinks no evil -- when love prevails, we’ll never think of trying to get even, taking advantage of another, or holding a grudge.

Love has a way of keeping us from being a garbage dump for people who are anxious to pass on the latest gossip about the faults and failures of another brother in Christ; love does not rejoice in iniquity (13:6). When someone makes a mistake, it takes no pleasure in wrongdoing, but it always delights when truth is upheld.

Love bears all things . . . endures all things (13:7) without getting frustrated or angry. There is nothing that love can’t face. It has no limit to its endurance and will quickly overlook the faults and failures of others. To say that love believes all things does not mean that it is gullible or unrealistic, but that it is always willing to believe the best, giving others the benefit of the doubt. The God-kind of love keeps us from becoming discouraged.

Love never fails (13:8), regardless of whether it is for friends, difficult people, or strangers.

Every one that loves is born of God, and knows God. . . . for God (His nature) is love (I John 4:7-8).

Thought for Today: When you love the Lord with all your heart, love for others will be a natural overflow.

Word Studies:

10:24 another's wealth = the good of others; 10:25 shambles = meat market; 11:11 without = independent of; 11:13 comely = proper; 12:2 dumb = silent; 12:11 severally = individually; 12:24 tempered = combined; 12:25 schism = division; 13:1 charity = love; 13:4 vaunteth not itself = is not boastful; 13:5 Doth not behave itself unseemly = is not rude; 13:12 through a glass, darkly = see in a mirror only dimly.

Cross References:

For I Corinthians 10:7: See Ex. 32:6. I Cor. 10:26: See Psa. 24:1.

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Steve Buyer (IN), Rep. Shelley Capito (WV), Rep. Porter Goss (FL), and Rep. Gerald Kleczka (WI) · Pray for one another · Country: El Salvador (6 million) in Central America · Major language: Spanish · Some intolerance of Protestants by government officials · 96% Roman Catholic; 3% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray, remembering there is no one like God (II Kings 19:14-15,19).

Memory Verse for the Week: I Corinthians 6:11