“So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13
As most of you know, I recently got out of the hospital following a very intensive surgery. Before I went under anesthesia, I knew that the odds could be that when I woke up, I could be paralyzed. However, I also knew that if I did not have the surgery I would be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. A scary prospect….. However, because of the love and prayers of my family and all those in my spiritual family, I knew I would be okay. The powerful prayer of love has no bounds! And I am witness to that!
This weekend we celebrate Mother’s Day. On this day, we give great honor to the woman who bore us, raised us, and above all loves us. Many of us think and pray for our mothers who are already ahead of us in heaven . So, as my mother loved me and my siblings , so I love her . She showed us this by expressing her love to us daily . So today, as hopefully every day, let’s focus and discuss what real love is all about.
Those of us who desire happiness and fullness of life must learn how to and express love toward all if we are to be successful in reaching our goals and receiving that love and peace that surpasses all else.
Before we can receive the love and the benefits and power of it, we must first express it. The absence of love which can be considered a state of fear can create a large percentage of physical ills and mental strain; so feeling, acknowledging and expressing love is to be our goal.
There’s a very interesting and thought-provoking story by Rev. Bill Fischer. “When Bill was in ministerial school, (around 1952), he was in a class that taught about love. They were told to love everyone, unconditionally.
May Rowland, the Director of the prayer ministry, was teaching the class. She told them that if anyone had a problem with loving anyone to come see her. Well, Bill Fischer went to see her.
Bill said, ‘There is one person here in my ministerial class that I cannot stand.
There is nothing about that person that I like.’
May said, ’Go back. Take a week. Look over his entire life, find something that you like, and then come back here.’
Well, he took a week. He took a week and a half. He came back to May Rowland and said, ‘I’m sorry, May, I’ve looked over this person’s life and there is absolutely nothing that I can stand about this person.’
May said, ‘Bill Fischer, you go back, take another week, look over every detail of this man’s life and find one thing that you like.” He came back in a week. May Rowland looked him directly in the eye and said, “Okay, what do you like?”
Bill said, ‘Well, May . . . I like his tie.’
And May said, “Go, immediately, and tell this man that you like his tie.”
So Bill Fischer went over and told this man, ‘I really love your tie..’
In that moment, the man loosened his tie, took it off and gave it to Bill.
Bill Fischer loved to tell that story, because they were close friends for the rest of their lives. That was the beginning of a powerful loving friendship.
Here’s what May Rowland wrote about love.
“More often than we realize, the lack of love in our lives is simply the lack of expressed love. A person may feel ever so kindly toward people, but close themselves in by not venturing to express any of their good feeling. The desire for love is frequently the need to express love toward others.”
There is a legendary story about a brother and a sister who were squabbling, like brothers and sisters do, over some leftover pie. They each wanted the bigger piece. The brother finally, through his arguments, won control of the knife.
About that time, a parent arrives. The parent says, “I don’t care who cuts the pie, but whoever does has to give the other one the right to select the piece that they want.”
So, the little boy cut the pie into two equal pieces.”
A man had just arrived in Heaven. He told Peter how grateful he was to be in such a glorious place. He asked Peter to give him one glimpse into Hades in order that he might appreciate his good fortune even more. This Peter did.
In Hades, he saw a long table extending as far as the eye could reach, laden down with the most delicious of all varieties of foods. But everyone around the table was starving to death.
When asked for an explanation, Peter said, “Well, everyone is required to take food from the table only with four-foot long chopsticks. They are so long that no one can reach the fork from the table to his mouth, and therefore each one is dying of starvation.”
Quickly they returned to Heaven, and behold, the new arrival saw an identical table, laden down with identical foods, but everyone around the table was happy and well-fed. Then he said to Peter, “With what do they take food from this table?”
Peter answered, “Only with four-foot long chopsticks.”
At that point, the new arrival scratched his head and said, “Well, why are all those in Hades starving to death while all those up here are so well fed and happy?” Whereupon Peter replied, “In Heaven we feed each other.
The love we hold back is the only pain that we have here.”
Easter was celebrated several weeks ago; The day before Good Friday is called Maundy Thursday. It is the day of Christ’s great mandate. That day, after He got down on His hands and knees and washed His disciples’ feet, Jesus said to them, “A new commandment I give unto you that ye love one another.” (John 13:34).
Tradition tells us that the aged apostle John, in bidding farewell to his congregation, admonished them to love one another. They said, “This is the last time we’re going to be with you, John. Please give us something new. Give us a new commandment.”
John replied, “Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning . . . that we should love one another. (I John 2:7 and 3:11).
Author James Dillet Freeman has written this.
“To love is to find happiness in making others happy. It is to appreciate the importance of others and to help them appreciate their own importance. Love is the power that links the lonely islands of men’s souls, beaten by icy separating seas of ignorance and fear and circumstance.”
We all have a debt to love one another. This is just as much an obligation as any we incur in an outer way.
First John 4:17 says, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is so are we in the world.”
Let’s break that down.
“Herein is our love made perfect.” Love is already perfect. It is from God. But, we must have boldness in the day of judgment. Well, what is boldness? I guess if the love is already with us, it would be to express that love; to bring our light into dark corners, to always let love shine no matter what is going on outside of us.
When is the day of judgment? Today is our day of judgment, our personal day of judgment. When we go to bed tonight, we’re going to have to answer the question to ourselves, “How loving was I today? Is there any way that I could have been more loving?” Because, as Jesus Christ is, so are we in our own world.
“Love may not make the world go around, but it sure makes the trip worthwhile.”
Rabbi Julius Gordon once said, “Love is not blind – it sees more, not less. Because it sees more, it is willing to see less.”
Love is a process; not a product. It requires constant practice to develop a loving attitude and a loving behavior. Love becomes the emotional oxygen that keeps our humanity alive.
Frances Manley, the psychologist, said, “Love is trust, caring, honesty, friendship, respect, commitment, loyalty, responsibility, reliability and faithfulness.”
Let’s talk about relationship love for a moment. We often ask, “What is the difference between romance, real love and infatuation?” “Romance can happen very quickly. Love often develops more slowly. It begins as friendship and it grows into love as the partners come to know and appreciate each other. Infatuation is different. It involves falling in love with your own creation; what you need (or hope for) the other person to be, rather than the reality of what that person really is.”
Author Eric Butterworth says we must begin with ourselves.
“Perhaps, there is no other way to be truly loving than to express love through self-love. Take a moment to reflect on this: You cannot give love to anyone, and no one can give love to you. You can be loving, which will create an environment in which others may find it easy to radiate and express love and thus be loving to you. Love is not a commodity to give, but a process through which you touch and express your own deeper nature.”
No one manufactures love. Like God, love is. All the love in the universe is basically Divine love. We merely have to be willing and ready to express this Divine love in order to have it show forth in our world. We have to be wise enough to circulate it freely. Just like our money. We must ‘spend’ our love to increase the amount in circulation.
Author J. Sig Paulson once said, “If love had been lived as often as it has been defined, earth would now be heaven.”
There’s a piece of poetry by Lee Hunt. It is called “Abou Ben Adhem.” It tells the tale of a good man who awoke one night and saw an angel writing something in a golden book.
Ben Adhem inquired what the angel was writing.
The reply was, “The names of those who love the Lord.”
“Is mine one?” he said.
“No,” said the angel.
“Then write me in as one who loves his fellow man.”
The angel complied and vanished.
The next night the angel returned and showed Ben Adhem the names of those that God’s love had blest, and lo, his own name led the rest.
We love God only to the degree that we express love in our life.
“When Wycliffe translator Doug Meland and his wife moved into a village of Brazil’s Fulnio Indians, he was referred to as “the white man.” The term was by no means complimentary, since other white men had exploited them, burned their homes and robbed them of their lands.
But after the Melands learned the Fulnio language and began to help the people with medicine and in other ways, they began calling Doug “the respectable white man.”
When the Melands began adopting the customs of the people, the Fulnio Indians gave them greater acceptance and spoke of Doug as “the white Indian.”
Then one day, as Doug was washing the dirty, blood caked foot of an injured Fulnio body, he overheard a by-stander said to another, “Whoever heard of a white man washing an Indian’s foot before? Certainly this man is from God!”
From that day on, whenever Doug would go into an Indian home, it would be announced, “Here comes the man God sent us.”
There is a newspaper that goes to missionaries. It is called “The South African Pioneer.” The missionary life is a hard life. Here is what they said to the missionaries a while back. They paraphrased 1st Corinthians, Chapter 13:
“If I have the language perfectly and speak like a native, and have not God’s love for them, I am nothing. If I have diplomas and degrees and know all the up-to-date methods, and have not God’s touch of understanding love, I am nothing.
If I am able to argue successfully against the strange religious rituals of the people and make fools of them, and have not God’s wooing note, I am nothing. If I have all faith and great ideals and magnificent plans, and not God’s love that serves and gives and desires to do more and prays, I am nothing.
If I give my clothes and money to them, and have not God’s love for them, I am nothing. If I surrender all prospects, leave home and friends, make the sacrifices of a missionary career, and turn sour and selfish amid the daily annoyances and slights of a missionary life, and have not the love that yields its rights, its leisure, its pet plans, I am nothing. Virtue has ceased to go out of me.
If I can heal all manner of sickness and disease, but wound hearts and hurt feelings for want of God’s love that is kind, I am nothing. If I can write articles or publish books that win applause, but fail to transcribe the Word of the Christ into the language of His love, I am nothing.”
At the end of the day, as we’re lying in bed, we have to ask ourselves “How loving were we this day?” We might have done a lot of great things in the outer. We might have published books and had great deeds accomplished, but we have to ask ourselves one question: “How loving was I?” If we weren’t loving enough, the day was nothing.
Take today and think about to whom you can express love – someone whose heart you have never touched before.
Happy Mother’s Day! Express your love today!
God Bless You!