CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- There is so much that clamors for our attention these days, and the freedom we have is amazing. God shared a bit of His infinite freedom, making us in his image. He could hardly be glorified by us unless we choose to look to Him, praise Him. And in the face of community need and a multiplicity of desires, our responses will define us.
The Apostle Paul had gotten wind that the Corinthian church had divided itself into groups: Some had become followers of the orator Apollos; others had formed groups that adhered to the teachings of Peter or Paul -- and even Christ. (Ahem!)
This sort of division is still with us. With all the clamor in Washington on front and center stage, not to mention several rebellions around the world against leaders who have exalted themselves at the expense of others, one can hardly doubt that we humans have the desire to exalt ourselves.
We all like to have something to crow about. Who hasn't heard the cherished saying, "Life is what you make it" -- or "Make the most of life while you can." Human beings do exalt themselves. To top it off, the Corinthian problem is still on the move in religious bodies today. If a religious group comes to a conclusion that affects life, some may bail out of their spiritual home to join a group that "thinks like I do."
Give me a break! Aren't we all aware that we come up short at times? Haven't we found it to be so?
Interestingly, the Apostle Paul hangs in there with his Corinthian brothers and sisters, offering, surprisingly, a gift of wisdom found in I Corinthians 13 in the New Testament of the Bible. While Paul acknowledges the importance of many gifts, he tells that group of Corinthians that love is the greatest gift of all. It does not insist on its own way; it is kind. It does not rejoice in wrongdoing. And, he adds, "We know only in part," pointing out that the day will come when we will know fully, even as we are now fully known. If you love someone, you don't throw in the towel!
Love is the great nurturing agent for children. It binds a family together. And God is love. He is our heavenly Father, and His love for us is lasting and peace giving. We see it perfectly in the gift of His Son who died for our sins. Love bears all things! That gives rise to great hope.
Hey! Who wants to be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal?
Dr. Lamb is parish associate at First Presbyterian Church, Charleston