February 3: 1 Corinthians 13
"If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends."
Yesterday we considered the passage that precedes this one and talked about how they are connected. Today, we encounter this very famous verse about love. It's beautifully written, which is one of the reasons that it's so often read at weddings. But it also captures the essence of love. I'm particularly drawn to verse 3: "If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing."
So often we do "good deeds" in order to be recognized for them and to be seen as a "good person." But that's not love. Love is when we do something good because we want to do that good thing. When the scriptures make love the central point of our faith, it's this kind of genuine, generous, non-selfish giving that they are referring to. It's a hard ideal to live up to, but by focussing on why we do the good deeds that we do, our gifts and our sacrifices can become much more genuine with time.