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, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 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.
1 Corinthians 13:8-11
What Is Permanent
Some things are built to be temporary. When you put up a tent, you don’t expect it to be a permanent shelter. When you build a sandcastle on the beach, you know that the waves from the rising tides will eventually wash it away.
Like tents and sandcastles, the apostle Paul points out in our Bible reading today that the prophecies spoken by the early Christians were meant to be temporary. Eventually, they were fulfilled. The practice of speaking in tongues was also meant to be temporary. After Christians had the whole New Testament, the gift of speaking in other languages was no longer necessary for the quick transmission of the message about Jesus.
Unfortunately, some early Christians put too much stock in prophesies and speaking in tongues. They became proud of these special spiritual gifts. So, the apostle Paul needed to knock them off their spiritual high horse by reminding them that these gifts, while given by God, were not the most important gift from God. Rather than boast about these gifts and look down on others, they were to look on others with love.
God’s love for you as his child is permanent. It will never be washed away. It is built to transcend even death. Because Jesus rose from the dead, his love goes on forever, and nothing can stop it. It is complete. It never fails. When there is nothing else to hold on to, the love of Jesus is solid, secure, and stable.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your remarkable and steadfast love. Amen.