If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging symbol. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
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. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
(Source: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, NRSV)
Love is so much. It is much more than what our culture thinks it is. Our culture has reduced love to a fleeting emotion tied to sex. But love goes way beyond that.
Love doesn’t impose itself on others. It doesn’t use force or seek power.
When we do ministry, we are supposed to approach people with love. And that can be difficult, especially when people choose a different path – a path in which they attempt or are able to force something on someone else. A path in which they try to exert control on their life or the lives of others. This never ends well.
Live is patient because love waits. Love is invitational. And the invitation is sent out. And when the invitation is sent out, love waits patiently for the response. This is the nature of God and who we are called to be and how we are to follow God. We are to follow love and with love.