Lovewell: A Theology - Day 18

DAY 18
1 Corinthians 13:1
13 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.


The heading for this section is “love is the greatest.” 1 Corinthians 13 is the famous chapter on love. It goes on to tell us what love is and what love is not. Of course, we have heard this text at weddings forever. In fact, as a pastor, I actually cringe when someone asks me to use it for their wedding. I do it, but I always feel like it is a little bit too on the nose.

However, I do love this text, and particularly how it starts. This first verse sets up everything, and it speaks specifically of relevance. But before I get to that, I want to tell you a story:

A long time ago we had a dog. She wasn’t very smart, and she would pee in the house all the time. She was deaf in one ear, and her back leg was just a little twisted, so, as a dachshund she would run a little crooked, never quite straight. However, we loved her, like you do. There was one thing that I learned early on; I learned that she didn’t know the words that we were saying, only the tone in which they were delivered. I don’t know if this is a breed issue, a dog issue, or just this dog’s issue. Anyway, she would cower if we told her we loved her too aggressively, and she would wag her tail if we were angry but our voices were kept low. She was a bit of a mess.

One day, I came home from school and I wanted her to come and say hello. I started calling her name, and then, when she didn’t come, I began to call more loudly and aggressively. When I finally found her she was cowering under our apricot tree, because even though I was looking for her to give her the afternoon snuggles she had come to love, my voice sounded angry, and so she thought I was angry.

This text says that no matter what I am saying, and to whom, no matter what language I am speaking and no matter how many people are listening, if I don’t have love it doesn’t matter. I am just more noise being put into the atmosphere.

So what is the key here? “Love”, love is the key, and love is the relevancy.

Love is the relevancy.

So our relationships, to be filled with relevancy, and to show people how much Jesus loves them, should be filled with love. Love overflowing and love everlasting. It seems that we are always trying to put a cap on love. To find its limits. Perhaps, the love that we have received is the measure of the love that we should give. And I dare you to find the limit of God’s love.

  1. Have you ever heard someone speak who was a clanging cymbal? 
  2. Why did you feel this way? 
  3. Have you heard preachers who say many good things, but their words just don’t ring true? 
  4. How can you be sure not to be a clanging cymbal to those around you? 
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