Summary: The Apostle Paul is in the middle of an extended discussion about spiritual gifts when he breaks stride to explain the importance of love. It isn’t just that love is an amazing force for good; love is permanent. Love does not energize spiritual gifts; love is the point of all the spiritual gifts. That’s a critical thing for preachers to remember, since preachers as much as anyone else have a responsibility to exercise and build their gifts. They also need to devote themselves to love and urge others to love. Nothing else matters. This is a vital message, too, for people doing ministry during a pandemic in a divided and frustrated society, when loving others is much more difficult than it sounds. Fortunately love never falters.
I wrote this article for those preparing to preach or hear sermons on 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. It was originally a contribution to the “Dear Working Preacher” series. 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