In Chapter 12 of First Corinthians, Paul makes a strong case for Spiritual gifts– church planting, prophecy, teaching, working miracles, healing, helping others, leadership, and the speaking in tongues. These gifts, He said, are gifts from God, for building up the church, and, like members of the body, regardless of how important or unimportant it may seem, each gift contributes to the well-being of the whole. These gifts are distributed to different members, not all found in one super-member.“Covet earnestly the best gifts,” Paul says…. “and yet, I show unto you a more excellent way.” 1 Corinthians 12:31 KJV
This is the background, the introduction to Chapter 13 of First Corinthians, the famous chapter on love. Read back over that list of gifts– apostles, prophets, teachers, miracle workers, healers, helpers, leaders, speakers in other languages. Which one is the best gift, the one Paul has just said to “earnestly desire?” But the way of love is more excellent still.
“God is Love,” John tells us. His being, His Character, His very core is Love. Everything He does is done by Love. Every Word of His is a Word of Love. The mission of His Son on this earth was a mission of Love. And He is looking for His followers to be His Love in a broken world.
Do not imagine that the Love of God is simply a better version of the human love we know. Our best love is only a faint image or echo of God’s Love. As Paul lays out the picture of the Love of God lived out by the saints in this world, remember that the Love of God can only come from God; we cannot live God’s Love by simply trying harder. He wants to live inside each one of us, pouring forth His Love in everything we do or say.