Updated: Jul 25, 2018
I want to remind you of the verse in 1 Corinthians 13, the one that says; “Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love-but the greatest of these is love.” I want to remind you of this verse because I think that a good understanding of how it describes the importance of love will hopefully motivate you to help validate the Gospel in your world through the way you love others. So, what’s so great about LOVE anyway?
The Greek word translated “Greatest” in this passage is “Megas.” It means; “BIG.” Love isn’t the “Greatest” because it is the most awesome. No, Love is the “Greatest” because love is the “Biggest.” Love has the biggest impact. Love has the biggest influence on others when it comes to making the Gospel believable. Your church benefits when your faith is big. You benefit when your hope is big and the world benefits when your love is big. When you love others in a big way it is obvious that something has truly happened to you. You see, it is not natural to love because love is unselfish and unselfishness is NOT natural. Love is not natural it is unusual and supernatural. Love isn’t indigenous to this world. Love is like superman. When he came to this world he stood out. He was like no one else. He was superhuman.
Love came down to earth from heaven. - Dr. Hughes
Love originated from heaven and it is not natural in this sinful, imperfect, selfish, uncaring world we often live in. That is why when others experience your love for them they catch a glimpse of another world. Most people are accustomed to someone disliking them or even hating them. What surprises people is when you love them! I believe a lot of people expect Christians to judge them and be critical. However, as Christians we must learn to love others up and down instead of starring them up and down.
When I was a teenager I was heavily in the church and very religious. I also respected my elders and especially those in the church. Once when I had been cutting grass I entered a grocery store with a dirty t-shirt and cut-off blue jeans. I walked up to the check-out counter and saw a lady I knew from a church in town. I spoke to her but she was not accustomed to seeing me dressed in shorts and a t-shirt and instead of responding to me right away with a response she starred me up and down for several seconds. Normally when someone does you like that they are trying to make up their mind how they feel about you at that particular moment.
For many people, a decision has to be made to love others
I had lunch with a wonderful woman of God recently. We were talking about “privilege.” The lady is brilliant, influential, a community leader, and very successful. She told me about an occasion recently when she was in line at a local restaurant and the hostess sat everyone else before finally getting to her. After starring her up and down a few seconds the hostess finally seated her. Sadly, that was not the first time she had suffered discrimination. For many people, a decision has to be made to love others, a starring up and down until it is decided whether or not the individual merits love. For the Christian, however, the decision has already been made. I don’t have to stare you up and down to try and decide whether or not I will love you…I have already decided to love you. That’s big!
The biggest thing you can do for someone is to love them.
Now there are plenty of benefits to doing other things for people. There are some benefits to impressing people. Take America’s Got Talent. If you can impress the judges enough with your talent you might get offered a record deal. Sort of like the little girl who timidly entered the stage, could hardly be heard answering the panel of judges when they asked her questions but sounded like Aretha Franklin when she began to sing. She impressed the judges and received the Gold Buzzer as a benefit.
There are benefits to entertaining people as well. My daughter, Hailey, recently told me that Kylie Jenner was on her way to becoming a Billionaire and is expected to reach that goal by the time she reaches age 21. Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook, was 25 before he became a Billionaire. I am not exactly sure what Kylie Jenner does or did to become a Billionaire but I have an idea it is just one of the benefits of being entertaining to the American public to watch and keep up with.
You can even receive a great benefit from pleasing people.
You can please people a little and receive a lot. You can impress people a little a receive a lot. You can entertain people and receive a lot but when you love people it is always BIG!
Each time you decide to love someone it is a BIG deal! You can never get reimbursed enough for loving someone because love is bigger than any form of reimbursement. When you love others as Christians others see the validity of the Gospel and believe it works. Why? Because something out of this world had to happen to you for you to love them the way you do. Nothing else matches love. It is the greatest of these. Love is not only BIG. Love is HEAVY.
Love is heavy? What do you mean Dr. Hughes? I am glad you asked! Understanding the fact that love carries a lot of weight helps to make sense of it. Love can break your heart because love is heavy. Most people don’t get their hearts broken because they fell in love with someone a little. Not at all! The reason why someone got their heart broken is because they risked loving someone with all they had in them and that is heavy. You have heard it said; “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.
Well, the bigger the love the bigger the break. Love carries a lot of weight. Love can bread down walls because love is heavy.
The weightiness of love makes it capable of breaking down anything. Love will break down hate. Love will break down racism. Love will break down sexism and homophobia. Love will eliminate stereotyping and profiling. Love stops anger and hatred. Love is heavy enough to hold down your pride. Love is heavy so love stays near the bottom.
Haven’t you noticed that most heavy things don’t float. I guess with the exception of a ship that is designed to float, most heavy things stay near the bottom. I think that is a wonderful attribute of love. There are many of us that love flippantly, shallow, and flashy. We tell someone we hardly know that we are in love with them or promise to love them forever and break that promise the moment we are offended by them.
True love is not that boisterous and self-promoting, On the contrary, true love is an obvious sign of humility because love stays near the bottom.
In 1 Peter 4: 8-10 the bible says; “Above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God.”
Finally, may I remind you of the full context of 1 Corinthians 13. It reads;
13 If I speak human or angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give away all my possessions, and if I give over my body in order to boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, 5 is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. 6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will come to an end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known. 13 Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love—but the greatest of these is love.
Love is the Greatest
Rev. Wiley Hughes
D.Min., Psy.D., FBPPC, LPCA, NCC
Apostolic Leader of Destiny Now