What are you called to do? Teach, heal, protect, preach? Whatever it is, Paul says it is nothing without love. You may be the best algebra teacher in your state, but if your students don’t know that you love them, their ability to solve linear equations means little when they face the pressures of adolescence. You may be a gifted doctor, revered in your field across the world; but if you don’t have love, your patients will not be completely healed. Doctors who show love to their patients provide healing even when medicine fails.
No matter what else God calls us to do or say, God calls us to love. Paul makes it pretty clear that nothing matters without love. But the love described in First Corinthians is not an easy kind of love; it is a radical love that puts others first, rejoices in the truth, always hopes, and always trusts. Sometimes love requires us to tell the truth when the truth is hard to hear. Jeremiah’s message to Israel isn’t popular, but his love for Israel and God lead him to share God’s message no matter how unpopular it may be. He becomes known as the weeping prophet because of his sorrow over Israel’s disobedience and the consequences that follow. It reminds me of the saying, “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” But radical love is patient and kind even in the face of resistance. Radical God-like love never fails. When we live out God’s call, we will face obstacles and resistance; but if we live in love, we cannot fail.
Loving God, help me to love the way you love: with kindness and patience and always seeking the truth. Amen.
The readings from the Hebrew scriptures share a common theme of calling. Jeremiah is called at a young age to be a prophet. God knew and set apart Jeremiah even in the womb. The psalmist also expresses confidence in God’s call, because God knew him even before he was born. In the same way, God knows each one of us and has a plan for our lives that is not an afterthought. In this First Corinthians passage (often read at weddings), Paul speaks of love. But this love is not infatuation and is not based on emotion. It is intentional, strong, gritty, and unselfish. In Luke we see that many struggle with the fact that Jesus’ calling is also to serve the marginalized. Jesus reveals that God has a missional heart.
Read Jeremiah 1:4-10. What is God calling you to do? What excuses are you making to ignore your vocation?
Read Psalm 71:1-6. God promises not to make our lives easy or perfectly safe but to be with us when we face challenges and violence. In a world that seems increasingly violent, how do you find assurance of God’s continuous presence?
Read 1 Corinthians 13. God calls us to a vocation of love. How can you be more loving in your daily work or activities?
Read Luke 4:21-30. How do you see God’s call in those you know best? Do you accept or reject the call God has placed on their lives?
Respond by posting a prayer.