Greatest of These is Love
By Barrington H. Brennen, 2002
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
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
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
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
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
"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