The celebrated Christian classic, The Greatest Thing in the World, began as a message shared with friends over a campfire at an English country home in 1884. Exhausted after holding services that day, D.L. Moody asked Henry Drummond to share something from Scripture. Drummond opened his pocket New Testament to 1st Corinthians 13, and began to speak about Love. To Moody, “it seemed that I had never heard something so beautiful.” He was so profoundly affected that he brought Drummond to his college in Northfield to deliver the same message. Since then, he had it read each year before the student body.
God’s Love is truly beautiful – well beyond our human understanding; it has no end and no limits as we can see in Scripture and often in History, Literature, and through God’s children. That Love is poured into our hearts and dispersed through us to others. But the world has cheapened the word ‘love’ so that we often fall short of comprehending its true nature; but God, through scripture, defines the real meaning of love
- God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. – Romans 5:5
- To know the Love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. – Eph 3:19
- The man who loves God is known by God. – 1 Corinthians 8:3
- Love one another deeply, from the heart. – 1 Peter 1:22
- And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:14
- If we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. – 1 John 4:12
From the Scriptures (and in many other ways), we realize that the extent and nature of God’s Love reaches far beyond the limits of human measure, but regardless we may experience its fullness. And through us, it can be made known to people we meet each day.
Barclay, one of the greatest Scottish theologians, writes, “The tendency of any body of people is sooner or later to fly apart; Love is the binding power which holds the whole Christian Body together…together in an unbreakable fellowship.” Love is the reigning principle. It completes all that we do for Christ. Henry Drummond contributes that love is “the rule for fulfilling all rules … Christ’s one secret of the Christian life.”
This love is meant to be shown to others and worked out each day in many practical ways – often as we relate to others. Jesus said to His disciples, “Love one another…by this all men will know that you are my disciples.” And Paul writes, “He who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the Law.” If we abide in His love, we will fulfill all that God has called us to do. It is very natural and almost universal that we feel the desire for our own good, but God’s love compels us to desire the good of others – even those who we find it difficult to love. But by following the way of love, we can do no less.
Lucy Pevensie, a young girl, in C. S. Lewis’ Narnian Chronicles gives us a very good example of showing love to the “unlovable.” She forgives her brother Edmund whose cruelty caused so much harm (The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe). She shows repeated kindness to Eustace whose selfishness was insufferable to all (The Voyage of the Dawn Trader). And she showed great compassion to the Dufflepuds who thought it nothing to put her in great danger. Most memorable is her love for Aslan, The Great Lion, shown as she meets him at the Stone Table and as he returns to a beleaguered Narnia after a long absence (Prince Caspian).
Recently, I came across a hymn written by Mary Shekleton. She lost her father at a very young age and was an invalid most of her life. Nonetheless, her life evidenced a love for God and for others that stretched far beyond natural human understanding. We may feel that we have not often shown this quality of love to those around us. But by loving God and our brothers, we may also know and love God Himself.
Paul concludes I Corinthians 12 with, “I will show you a more excellent way,” thus introducing his great message about Christian Love in Chapter 13. May God bless you with His fullness this Sabbath as you walk in this way of love.It Passeth Knowledge, that Dear Love of Thine
By Mary Shekleton
(Gospel Hymns Nos 1 to 6 Complete)