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The Greatest of These is Love

By Barrington H. Brennen, 2002



Barrington Brennen

Dear friend, our society today is hungry for a true expression of love. Itís the only thing thatís thereís just too little of. Below is my adaptation of the love passage of the Bible found in 1 Corinthians 13. It is designed to help you see what should be important in our lives today. Read it and share with it a friend, office staff, or church community. Note that this is not a translation of the passage, but my own illustrative reflection, creating contemporary meaning of the verses.

"If I speak in tongues of nations and of angels, but have not a loving attitude, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have no love in my heart, I am nothing.

If I am a vegetarian, and do not eat dairy products to reduce my sinus problem, and cannot share lovingly with others, my diet is in vain. If I exercise five times a week at Goldís Gym or on R. M. Bailey track, and cannot share my energy in a loving way, my walking and running will be in vain. I can still die of a heart attack.

If I am financially independent and able to give to all church projects but have not love, my giving will be in vain. If I eat lots of broccoli soup to reduce the cancer risk, make my own gluten, or eat only boil fish for meat, and refuse to share in loving relationships, my life will be meaningless. I can still die prematurely.

Love never fails. College degrees, expensive houses, designer clothing, speaking in tongues, evangelistic crusades, and health seminars, will all pass away. Now these five remains. Financial independence, a healthy lifestyle, faith, hope, and loving relationships. But the greatest of all of these is LOVING RELATIONSHIPS."

How passionate is your relationship dear reader? Several years ago I was the guest speaker during the Family Life Emphasis Day at the Hillview Seventh-day Adventist Church, Harrold Road, The Bahamas. To create the setting for my presentation, I opened with a touching story of a deep expression of passionate love.  The story is written by Michael D. Hargrove and Bottom Line Underwriters, Inc. © Copyright 1997. All rights reserved. Used with permission All rights reserved. Hereís the story:

"A man was waiting to pick up a friend at the airport in Portland, Oregon, he had one of those life changing experiences that you hear other people talk about -- the kind that sneaks up on you unexpectedly. This one occurred merely two feet away from me. Straining to locate my friend among the passengers deplaning through the jet way, I noticed a man coming toward me carrying two light bags. He stopped right next to me to greet his family.

First he motioned to his youngest son (maybe six years old) as he laid down his bags. They gave each other a long, loving hug. As they separated enough to look in each other's face, I heard the father say,

"It's so good to see you, son. I missed you so much!" His son smiled somewhat shyly, averted his eyes and replied softly, "Me, too, Dad!"

Then the man stood up, gazed in the eyes of his oldest son (maybe nine or ten) and while cupping his son's face in his hands said, "You're already quite the young man. I love you very much, Zach!" They too hugged a most loving, tender hug.

While this was happening, a baby girl (perhaps one or one-and-a-half) was squirming excitedly in her mother's arms, never once taking her little eyes off the wonderful sight of her returning father. The man said, "Hi, baby girl!" as he gently took the child from her mother. He quickly kissed her face all over and then held her close to his chest while rocking her from side to side. The little girl instantly relaxed and simply laid her head on his shoulder, motionless in pure contentment.

After several moments, he handed his daughter to his oldest son and declared,  "I've saved the best for last!" and proceeded to give his wife the longest, most passionate kiss I ever remember seeing. He gazed into her eyes for several seconds and then silently mouthed. "I love you so much!" They stared at each other's eyes, beaming big smiles at one another, while holding both hands. For an instant they reminded me of newlyweds, but I knew by the age of their kids that they couldn't possibly be. I puzzled about it for a moment then realized how totally engrossed I was in the wonderful display of unconditional love not more than an arm's length away from me.

I suddenly felt uncomfortable, as if I was invading something sacred, but was amazed to hear my own voice nervously ask, "Wow! How long have you two been married? "Been married twelve years." he replied, without breaking his gaze from his lovely wife's face.

"Well then, how long have you been away?" I asked. The man finally turned and looked at me, still beaming his joyous smile. "Two whole days!" Two days? I was stunned. By the intensity of the greeting, I had assumed he'd been gone for at least several weeks - if not months. I know my expression betrayed me. I said almost offhandedly, hoping to end my intrusion with some semblance of grace (and to get back to searching for my friend), "I hope my marriage is still that passionate after twelve years!"

The man suddenly stopped smiling. He looked me straight in the eye, and with forcefulness that burned right into my soul, he told me something that left me a different person. He told me, "DON'T HOPE, FRIEND. . . . DECIDE!"

Then he flashed me his wonderful smile again, shook my hand and said, "God bless!" With that, he and his family turned and strode away together.

Dear reader, have you decided to passionately love your spouse and children. Remember, love is a VERB. It is an action word. You can DECIDE to love. Nothing is more important in todayís society than LOVING RELATIONSHIPS.



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Permission is granted to place links from these articles on social media like Google+, FaceBook, etc..   Permission is also granted to print these pages and to make the necessary copies for your personal use, friends, seminar, or meeting handout. You must not sell for personal gain, only to cover the cost to make copies if necessary.    Written permission (email) is needed to publish or reprint articles and materials in any other form.    Articles are written by Barrington H. Brennen, Counseling Psychologist and Marriage & Family Therapist.

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April 26, 2000, TAGnet/NetAserve / Network Solutions

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