It’s Monday afternoon. 6:00 p.m. on the dot. My son frantically runs down the stairs. “What time is it?” He turns the kitchen radio up to full blast and sits down on the stool right next to the radio. “Hi kids! It’s Adventures in Odyssey and today’s story is about love.” He listens intently.
The dining room table is bombarded with workbooks to be graded from our school day. As my baby girl sits on my lap eagerly grabbing every book within her reach, I try to focus on grading through piles of papers and workbooks hoping to get done before my husband comes home from another late day at work.
In the midst of my grading frenzie, my heart skips a beat. It started pounding. I shook my head back and forth and took a deep breath and sighed. Wouldn’t you know it…yes…God was stirring my heart and he was using “Adventures in Odyssey” to do it. I only heard parts of the story playing in the background, but the Lord used those parts to teach me that agape love is hard work! Agape, which is a Greek word for love, is not a feeling but rather a sacrificial love that voluntarily suffers inconvenience, discomfort, or even death without expecting anything in return.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices
with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes,
always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are
prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues,
they will be stilled; where there is knowledge,
it will pass away. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
I have read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 many times before, but this time it was different. When I read this verse piece-by-piece so many parts jumped out at me. I reflected on how I expressed and showed love to others including myself. Am I patient with my children? Am I envious of others? Do I keep records of my wrongs and others wrongs? Am I easily angered (Ha..James 1:19!)? Do I always trust God? Do I always persevere even when things get hard? Do I have hope when there seems to be no hope?
Yes, I will admit that I learned quite a lesson from that Adventures in Odyssey playing in the background that day. It made me realize that I need to work harder loving those who are hard to love. I need to love through those challenging times when I want to give up. Yes, agape love is HARD WORK but remember LOVE NEVER FAILS (1 Cor. 13:8). Jesus gave us the ultimate gift of agape love when he died on the cross for our sins. He gave His life so that we might live. His love never fails. Accept His love today and be transformed.
Read 1 Corinthians 13″4-8 piece by piece. Can you think of someone (maybe yourself) that you need to “work harder” to love? Is there a particular part of the verse that you would like to work on in your life?