The heart is naturally grateful. It thrives on hope and gratitude. Our work here on earth is to remove the obstacles that get in the way of our hearts’ innate desire to love and be loved. If Valentine’s Day left you feeling deflated, that could be because our hearts are looking for love far beyond the romantic. Our hearts long for death defying, world changing, impossible-without-God, unconditional love, love that covers all wrong and casts out all fear. This love is the cornerstone of the Christian faith, the love that the Apostle Paul expressed so fiercely in his Corinthian manifesto.
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”
No amount of eloquence or charm can resonate like love can. In fact, it ends up sounding out of tune when love isn’t the lead vocal.
“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”
No matter how many followers we have, no matter how many fans, regardless of the heights to which we rise — nothing is so powerful as the great love that exists beyond understanding. As it says in Ecclesiastes, “He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
“If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
A life of service is a beautiful endeavor, but we quickly burn out without the energy of love. James writes faith without works is dead. The inverse is also true. We cannot sustain works without faith, without love. We were not built for it.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
This is true compassionate unconditional love, to always advocate on behalf of others.
“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.”
I have no words. Only love.
“For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.”
The veil will be removed, the confusion cleared up, the wrong made right.
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
What a day that will be.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
So love wins. But faith and hope remain with love, as gateways to the unconditional love that God placed deep within our hearts.
“Rest assured that justice is on its way and every good heart put right.” says Psalm 94:15 (MSG), so “Let us love not in word and speech, but in action and truth.”
Our action is in giving thanks, our truth is in bearing witness, in giving others reason to hope in this transformative love that outlasts time and eternity, and yet resides within each of us today. This week, as we note our Daily 5 Gratitudes, let’s take a moment to see how naturally they inspire love within us. We might feel a sense of warmth, of kindheartedness toward a neighbor or even a stranger passing by, a memory that signals hope for the future. As we write the Book of Hope together, may our gratitude lead us to love.
If you’re just now getting started on your own Book of Hope, here’s where to begin.
And don’t forget to join us every Monday at 3pm on Root & Vine’s Instagram Live.