The Best of These Is Love

“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.”
Saul of Tarsus
Translation by Eugene Peterson 
The Message

A Dream and a Prayer

“Harry and I have it all figured out. Harry will take my job at the Building and Loan, work there for four years, then he’ll go. I couldn’t face being cooped up in a shabby little office. I want to do something big, something important.” From It’s A Wonderful Life

We all dream. We are encouraged to. It’s healthy to have a purpose to reach for. George Bailey, the main character in It’s A Wonderful Life, had very definite plans. So definite that when he closed his eyes, his imagination took him there. Are you familiar with the story?

George’s life shaped his dream more than his dream shaped his.

I know George very well. First, I’ve watched him flash across the movie screen many times during the Christmas Season. Yet I know him better in my heart. Why? Because I am very much like a George too. I had big dreams, just as defined as his.

I don’t think George’s story is meant to discourage us from dreaming or even dreaming big. I think his life just spotlights the importance of being attentive to our specific calling in life, whether it is big or limited.

Frank Capra’s classic movie touches on many universal core values often forgotten in life. We can miss the trees for the forest. But even when we are fixated on our big adventurous life in the future, we often remain unaware of the big plans our Creator has for us in the here and now.

My deepest disappointments were often the result of failed expectations.

Who of us, if we are honest, have not stood on the bridge like George, despairing of life, the life we expected to have? Thankfully for me, and maybe for you, the compassionate Hand of the Divine was at work, steadfastly helping us gain clarity of purpose, even in the mist of blizzards and foggy days.

Take courage. God will never leave you or forsake you, just as he never left me. May all of the George Baileys out there have a Wonderful Life!