Series: Love Glue
Message: Sticky Recipe: Making Something That Lasts
Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Reflection: Mike Speegle
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Zan Long
Live Beyond: Brandon Kharns
Live Purpose: Vanessa Rivera
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 in the New Living Translation (NLT). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: The context for all of Chapter 13 is found in Chapter 12 where Paul talks about how everyone is important and has a vital part in making this thing we call “church” work. After reminding the church in Corinth that no one can do it all—no one has all the gifts, insight, or ability—he leads into Chapter 13 with these words: “And now I will show you the best way of all [a better/superior way]” (1 Corinthians 12:31, EXB).
In the first three verses, he hammers home that without love, not just as the motivation but also the goal of why we do what we do, nothing matters. We are nothings, absolute zeros.
Matthew Clarke, in his commentary on these verses, says: “I am nothing—nothing in myself, nothing in the sight of God, nothing in the Church, and good for nothing to mankind.”
Our gifts and abilities don’t matter without love. No matter how smart we are, how many degrees we have, or how many ministries we are a part of, without love we are in deep trouble.
Why, and how, we do what we do matters. According to Paul, why is the most important question, but how is important as well. Read again his description of love: patient, kind, not all about us. Jealousy isn’t love, neither is arrogance, rudeness, or selfishness. The “how” of love doesn’t get easily upset with others, doesn’t keep a running history of the “you always-es” or the “you never-s.”
Love is more than words. Love is about how we see others, treat others, talk to and about others. Paul recognizes that we need to be shown (reminded) that it is the best way because apparently without it we are simply deceiving ourselves.
Some Christians react against that idea. Love is OK but it’s not “deep enough” for them. “There is more than love that God expects,” they would say. Paul, it seems, would disagree. He seems to understand that love is actually too deep for some of us.
Recalibrate: What well-intentioned, good things have you done that, upon reflection, maybe weren’t done from a base of love? Why do you think is so easy to do good things for reasons other than love?
Respond: Be honest with yourself and God, and ask for His help in living love.
Research: Read through Jesus’s uncomfortable prophetic story in Matthew 25:31-46. Don’t miss His clear point that everyone is clueless as to why they are in or out.
Remember: “Love is patient and kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4, ICB).
Mike Speegle is the lead pastor for New Hope, an exciting, young, multi-ethnic Adventist Church in Fulton, Maryland. Mike became a follower of Jesus and an Adventist in his early 20s. Pacific Union College was the first Adventist school he ever attended; he met his wife Lorie there. Mike has pastored for 30+ years, served in the Ministerial Association of the General Conference, and has written a book, Big Questions, as well as a number of articles.
What is your child’s favorite thing to do that you really wish they didn’t do? Not because it is a bad thing to do but because it is a pain to clean up. It could be painting or Play-Doh or making mud pies or, even worse, glitter glue. Choose to do their favorite thing. Enjoy every minute of it because that is what your little one loves to do. Know that what our children love to play with all the time often reveals the gifts that God has put in their heart.
Make a list of all the things you love to do—sports, games— whatever! Which of these is your top activity or thing you like to play with? If it is your Lego collection, imagine what it would be like if there was never anyone to play Lego with. If it is soccer, imagine what kind of game you would play if you were the only player. If it is gymnastics, how much fun would it be to train alone? Look around at the people in your family, your grade at school, or your team. You have been made by God to do a good thing wherever you are. Choose to love whatever you are doing and whomever you are doing that with. This is how Jesus lived love and this kind of love lasts forever.
What is love? (Baby don’t hurt me . . .). Mad props if you get the joke. If you’re a cynic like me, you have had a moment when your mom or dad, or someone else in your family, has said, “I love you,” and you think (hopefully not out loud because that’s super mean), “Pshhh, what does that even mean?” Well, I’m glad you asked. The people living in Corinth must have been a lot like us because Paul needed to tell them what love is too. Check out 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
When I read the Bible, sometimes it feels like it all blends into a weird blur. To help keep that from happening I like to break it down into lists. So here it is—a list of the things that love is. I know the temptation will be to read a couple and skim over the rest. Don’t do that. Read each one of them; take your time. Imagine what each looks like acted out. Write down if you have any reactions to any of them. Even it it’s the tiniest heartbeat skip or a brief feeling of guilt. We’ll talk more about that tomorrow.
—Does not envy (crave other people’s things or is jealous)
—Does not brag
—Not proud (isn’t self-centered or have too much pride)
—Does not dishonor others (not rude or mean even when they aren’t listening)
—Not easily angered
—Does not hold grudges
—Doesn’t enjoy evil things, but loves good things
—Always protects, trusts, hopes, and preserves
“I don’t think he loves you.” I heard those words and my heart sank. I knew it was true, but no one had told me that in such a blunt way. I was sitting in a session with my therapist, talking about things that were happening in my marriage that weren’t right. I hadn’t told anyone what was really happening because I knew someone would tell me those five words. Now I’m a therapist working the field of mental health and I’ve already had to say those five words to some of my clients in similar situations. While I’m going to assume none of you reading this are married, you may have had a moment where you knew someone wasn’t treating you in a loving way and it hurts. It hurts so much. I conduct many therapy sessions with kids who are being bullied at school. I’ve had sessions where online strangers or even family members are the mean ones to my clients. When we aren’t loving on each other, it hurts badly. I want you to think about your words today. How do you talk to people? Did you say something to intentionally be mean to someone? If so, how come? Did it help the situation?
Zan Long is GRC director for faith development groups. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
Brandon Kharns is the family life pastor at Placerville Seventh-day Adventist church in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California near Lake Tahoe.
Vanessa Rivera is a therapist in a community mental health center in Denver, CO, and serves as the lead elder for Live Purpose at Boulder Church.