This is a summary of a familiar passage (from 1 Corinthianss 13), which is often read at weddings and such. I’ve shared this passage on this blog before, but I’ve never seen it presented quite like this (courtesy of the Bible app):
So the DOs are found in verses 1, 7, and 8, while the DON’Ts can be found in verses 2-6. Can you imagine how different our world would be if we all tried to follow these rules – if we essentially went back to the basics?
I decided to test out verse one today, and it was a little more challenging than I expected it to be!
I had stopped by my mother’s house, and while I was there, I noticed that she had received two large shipments of bottled water, and the packages were sitting on the kitchen counter. I was already tired – I had an unexpected muscle cramp in my side, too – and I thought to myself, “Somebody really needs to put those water bottles away.”
Of course, you can imagine what happened next: “Why not you, Daily?”
Love is patient.
Naturally, I put the bottles away, and actually went a few steps further – putting away a shipment of coconut water that she had received, and also rearranging the cans of soda and other beverages that she had stored away in her pantry so that they would be more accessible to her. I also tidied the innards of her refrigerator to make room for the extra beverages (to ensure that she had some cold drinks available, rather than the room temperature ones in the pantry). I did all of this as quietly and discreetly as I could, trying to not draw any undue attention to myself.
When I had finished, I simply gathered my things, said goodbye, and went on my way. Although everything in me wanted to say, “Mom, look what I did! I put away your bottles of water, and your coconut water, AND even rearranged your pantry and refrigerator for you,” I did not say anything.
Love is kind.
Love often means performing an act of unexpected kindness to those who are closest to us. What I did wasn’t a big thing, really, but I knew that my Mom would appreciate it. However, the old me would have made a big show of saying “Look what I did!” which would have basically cancelled out the effect of the act of kindness that I was attempting to perform.
After I left, I went to the grocery store and focused on other things. As is my custom, I asked the cashier, “How are you doing today?”
Love is patient.
I was tired, but I listened attentively to what he had to say – quite a bit, actually – and as I left, wished him well (addessing him by his first name. After all, I figure that he was wearing his name tag for a reason).
Love is kind.
I got back in my car, only to discover a text from my Mom, who wanted to thank me for putting the water bottles away. Her message made me smile. I had to resist the impulse to text her back and let her know about the coconut water, the pantry, and the refrigerator, and instead replied with a simple “You are welcome” and a heart emoji.
So what is the net-net of all of this experience? Living out verses 1, 7, and 8 is hard work and requires intention and sustained effort. While I like to think of myself as a patient and loving person, more often than not, I tend to prioritize my needs first. Living out these verses means putting the needs of others first, and then not doing anything to take credit for our good deeds. This is not easy! It is very rewarding, though.
And I’m still working on verses 2-6 (aren’t we all?). 😉
Dear Lord, thank You for this important reminder from the Bible, and for giving me two good opportunities today to put these verses into practice. Help me to make this mindset more of an intuitive way of life, where the good deeds that I perform are a reward in and of themselves, and not because I am seeking credit or favor from others. Remind me to go back to the spiritual basics and really love the people You place in my circle of influence each day. In Your name I pray, Amen.
PS – I am not sharing this story to receive any commendations from you all. Rather, my hope is to remind everyone that love is a choice and a committment that we make every day, and often can be shown in very simple, meaningful ways. Let’s all get back to the basics!