Why and how should we love?
Reading: 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13
Blanks: love, patient, trusts, fully
(After a spy game)
Have you all played a game of mafia?
Was it easy to find the mafia?
Sometimes, you thought someone was a mafia.
But it turned out he or she was not.
Your guessing was not always right, right?
But there is a bigger world out there.
In that world, sometimes, we may not be able to see things clearly.
We may even misunderstand something.
We may have a wrong conviction.
Or, we may be confused or understand only small part of it.
There was a farmer who realized this kind of things.
So he always said: “I don’t know.”
Let me tell you his story.
(1) This farmer owned one horse.
He depended on the horse for everything.
The horse pulled his plow and his wagon.
But one day a bee stung the horse.
Then in fright the horse ran away into the mountains.
The farmer went out to search for him but couldn't find him.
Then his neighbors said:
"We are really sorry about your bad luck in losing your horse."
But the old farmer said:
"Bad luck, good luck, I don’t know that."
(1) A week later his horse came back, accompanied by twelve wild horses, which he had obviously encountered.
Now the old farmer was able to have all these fine animals.
Then his neighbors came and said:
You are the lucky guy."
But the old man once again said:
"I don’t know about that."
(2) This farmer had only one son.
This son decided to make the most of this good fortune.
So he started to train the wild horses so that he could sell them or put them to work in the fields.
But then, he got thrown from one of the horses, and got hurt.
Then the neighbors came and said:
"We are so sorry about the bad luck of your son getting hurt."
The old man said:
"Bad luck, good luck, I don’t know that."
Two weeks later, a neighboring nation invaded them.
So, their army came to their town gathering every man under fifty.
But because the son was injured, he did not have to go.
Then it turned out to save his life.
Sometimes in our life, something that we don’t expect may happen.
Our life may take a different set of turns.
But, we may not be able to say whether it is good or bad.
Sometimes, we cannot say which life is better than the other.
Because what looks good may turns out to be bad.
What looks bad may turns out to be good.
Some events may look like harmful to us.
But then it may turn out to be our remedy.
But for now, it may be good that we don’t understand.
Then, we may not trust too much on our understanding.
(2) Instead, we may become humble and learn to trust God more.
We may start to seek God’s will.
And when we realize that we may not see things clearly, we may not trust too much on our opinions about people, either.
We may not trust too much about what we hear about people, either.
Instead, we may give people the benefit of the doubt.
We may try to believe something good about people, instead, because Jesus asks to love in this way.
It also has been said that sometimes, we may not get what we pray for.
We may not have everything that we had hoped for.
Sometimes, God may have to lead us to somewhere where we may not want to go.
Sometimes, God has to do this because God loves us and God understands something about us.
Then later when we realize what God has done, we may be really, truly thankful.
So, someone said something like this based on his experience:
I asked God for strength, so that I might achieve something great.
But I was made weak, so that I might learn to humbly obey.
I asked for health, that I might do great things.
But I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
But I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have all the praise.
But I was given weakness, so that I might feel the need of God and praise only God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
But God gave me life that I might enjoy all things.
Then, I confessed that I am truly blessed.
I would say despite myself, God has truly blessed me, answering my unspoken prayers.
(2)Sometimes we don’t see clearly.
Sometimes, we are like people who pray looking through the fog or the mist.
We pray without knowing what God knows already.
But then later, when the weather became clear and the sun started to shine, we may be able to see what God sees.
We may be able to know what God knows.
But here is the thing.
Because God knows that we don’t see clearly, God asks us to love.
God asks us to always love God and love people beyond reasonable bounds.
Then when we see things clearly, we will be glad that we have done so.
Because we will understand why God wants us to love like Jesus loves.
So, the first century church leader, Apostle Paul after learning this lesson, decided to love no matter what.
As for him, it was even better to be cheated than to be unloving.
Then he said something like this:
(1) I am nothing, if I do not love.
I am nothing, if I don’t have patience, and kindness.
I am nothing, if I am bragging about things and proud.
I am nothing, if I don’t honor all people.
I am nothing, if I am selfish, seeking only my own interests.
I am nothing, if get upset very easily.
I am nothing, if I keep record of wrongs in my thoughts.
I am nothing, if I accuse anyone.
I am nothing, if I delight in evil.
If I love like Jesus loves, I will not rejoice with the truth.
If I love like Jesus loves, I will always protect.
If I love like him, I will always trust.
If I love, I will always hope.
If Jesus is with me, I will continually love even in the face of difficulty or discouragement; or even with little, or no indication of success.
Still I will choose to love knowing love is a choice and it is an act of will.
God, thank you for giving us this life.
Thank you for giving us the life of Jesus.
May we understand why you gave us Jesus.
May we understand the meaning of the life of Jesus.
We pray this in Jesus name.