"There are three things that remain—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love."1
Many years ago, when I was a youth, I read the following poem that I have never forgotten. It was written by John Oxenham:
Love ever gives, forgives outlives,
And ever stands with open hands,
And while it lives, it gives.
For this is love's prerogative–
to give, and give, and give.
As the Apostle Paul wrote in perhaps the greatest literary masterpiece on love ever written: "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing."2
Love is much more than sentiment and even a feeling. It's a commitment of one imperfect person to another. It's a choice. It's a byproduct of growth and maturity. It is a gift from God. It also needs to be learned. We learn it from loving people who know us totally—warts and all—and still love us. And we learn it from others who model it, the supreme example being the Lord Jesus.
And remember, we always need to do the loving thing—even when we don't feel loving.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, in the words of John Powell, 'Please don't let me die without having fully lived and fully loved.' Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Paul the Apostle (1 Corinthians 13:13, TLB).
2. 1 Corinthians13:1-3 (NIV).