January 29th, 2016 by Clint Kandle
It may seem a bit early to talk about Valentine’s Day, despite the fact that many retail stores have had cards and candy out since just before the glow of the Christmas lights faded. To be honest, this epistle is about love, not the “special day” that greeting card companies and chocolatiers claim as the holiday of love.
When we are young, it is a flashy, fun and frivolous day of romance, if we are lucky. As we grow older and hopefully more mature, love begins to grow in dimension. Romance is still wonderful and much-needed, but real relationship suddenly transforms any one-dimensional perspective of love into something that defies easy explanation, something that must be experienced rather than defined.
In 1st Corinthians 13, Paul is speaking about a similar power to transform. The fledgling church in Corinth is searching for the next mountain top experience. They are clamoring for spiritual gifts as if the gifts themselves are the prize. They are trading the very message of God’s word for prestige and worldly honor.
Paul shows them a more excellent way that still speaks volumes to us today. He sets aside any attempt to sway them with his oratory skills or techniques and instead relies on the Gospel, proclaiming Christ crucified. The message shared speaks of an itinerant preacher who never ventured beyond 60 miles from his home, yet who offered an unbelievable gift, his life both as an example and as a sacrifice. Despite the limitations of his day, his message went viral, changing the world forever and continuing to transform it today.
If you have looked at Facebook at all this week, I am sure that you must have seen the video of the Australian twins, born prematurely, who held hands as their father cradled both of them in his arms. It was heart-warming but certainly not life-changing. Yet technology and a message that struck a nerve spread the video throughout the internet like wildfire. So at a time when we have the ability to reach across an ocean and proclaim the good news with a touch of a button, why are we seeing so little impact for God’s Kingdom? Why are we seeing so little actual transformation?
This Sunday, let’s explore how this transforming power can be unleashed to change ourselves, then in turn our families, our neighborhoods, and the world. If we claim that our mission is the “transformation for the sake of others” should we be surprised when we are overwhelmed with radical love?