“Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away” (1 Corinthians 13:8 NIV).
The Constitution of the United States says that every person is, “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Have you ever considered just how much time, energy, and other resources we pour into our pursuit of happiness? It seems as if we are constantly working in order to pursue happiness, and as we experience life, we may come to realize that most of these things that we think make us happy, are temporary.
People who finds happiness in their work may find that they try to spend as much time as possible working and preparing to work. Those who find happiness in their families may spend their time and energy trying to protect them and ensure more time with them. People who find their happiness in health may spend a great deal of time at the gym.
The person who finds their happiness in a solitary cigarette break may anticipate all morning for that seven minutes of quiet solitude with a burning ember. How many people spend as much time as possible with other people who drink and do drugs because happiness might be found in escaping from reality? And while some of these pursuits are certainly more admirable—and beneficial—than others, they do all have one thing in common, they are all temporary.
The danger in investing our lives in things that are only temporary is that we could miss out on things that are eternal. Much like an addict, we can easily spend most of our resources for the sake of happiness that will not last and will likely make us slaves to its pursuit. But Paul says that the only thing that does not fail is love; and so wouldn’t it make sense to direct our time and energy in genuinely loving? Think about how our pursuit of happiness might change if we focused our resources on loving God and neighbor.
We may find that our work is not only a source of happiness for us, but that we work to please God and to benefit the world. We may find that our love for God and our family causes us to invest in them so that they might know the happiness that can come from a loving community that invests in others. We may find that our love for God and neighbor cause us to take care of our health, not out of vanity, but so that we can be more useful in building others up.
A person who loves God and neighbor, first and foremost, may find that solitude with the Lord is not to escape from reality, but rather to enjoy God and to be more equipped to love others. And a person who loves God and neighbor does not desire to escape the ugliness that is part of reality, but instead chooses to face it with a sober mind in order to protect God’s creation. Love really does change everything.
Genuine love never fails, because God is love and He never fails. Love drives us to pursue holiness for the sake of others. Love changes our heart’s desires so that they are dedicated to God and neighbor. It is not happiness that we should be pursuing, it is love; happiness then becomes a welcomed side effect.
Which do you pursue?
Please come join us as we fix our eyes on Jesus. We meet Sundays at 9 a.m. for Sunday school and 10 a.m. for worship. Everyone is welcome!