The Greatest Thing in the World

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Last week, a man long dead issued me a challenge. I read The Greatest Thing in the World by Henry Drummond, a Scottish evangelist who worked for a while with Dwight L. Moody. This short work is well worth your time, and you can find it in various formats on line. His essay on 1 Corinthians 13 is full of thought-provoking words like these:

  • The Spectrum of Love has nine ingredients: Patience, Kindness, Generosity, Humility, Courtesy, Unselfishness, Good Temper, Guilelessness, Sincerity.
  • Have you ever noticed how much of Christ’s life was spent in doing kind things?
  • I wonder why it is that we are not all kinder than we are? How much the world needs it. How easily it is done. How instantaneously it acts. How infallibly it is remembered. How superabundantly it pays itself back.
  • God is love. Therefore love. Without distinction, without calculation, without procrastination, love. Lavish it upon the poor, where it is very easy; especially upon the rich, who often need it most; most of all upon our equals, where it is very difficult, and for whom perhaps we each do least of all.
  • John says of the world, not that it is wrong, but simply that it “passeth away.” There is a great deal in the world that is delightful and beautiful; there is a great deal in it that is great and engrossing; but it will not last. (Love will last.)
  • Love is an effect. And only as we fulfil the right condition can we have the effect produced. Shall I tell you what the cause is? “We love, because He first loved us.”
  • Contemplate the love of Christ, and you will love.

And what is the challenge Henry issued? Read 1 Corinthians 13 once a week for the next three months.

I’ve accepted that challenge. Will you join me? I hope you’ll take the time to share in the comments section any changes you see in yourself as you let this chapter soak into your spirit.

1 Corinthians 13

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. 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. 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.

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.

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. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 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. 12 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.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

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