Are you familiar with 1 Corinthians 13? It is often referred to as the love chapter in the Bible. It lays out what it truly means to love someone else and shows us how God’s love is perfect for us. I find myself thinking a lot about this chapter in the Bible as I look forward to the rest of 2018. You see, just before Christmas my daughter got engaged and is planning a fall wedding. Then this past Saturday my son Aaron got engaged. He is jumping ahead of his sister and is getting married in July. At the moment I have all three of my children engaged to be married with weddings coming up in February, July and October of 2018!
As I look at the characteristics of love in 1 Corinthians 13, I recognize my own shortcomings in loving others. As exciting as our house is at the moment with wedding plans being the constant topic of conversation, I know that after all the weddings are over the real work begins in their marriages.
Verse 4 tells us, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” I hope I have taught my children patience and kindness, but I know there will be times when they fail in those areas, just like their dad did/does.
One thing we do know is that this description of love is the description of God’s perfect love for us. So whether we are in a crazy time of planning three weddings or in a time when life has knocked us down, we know God’s love for us is perfect. We can trust in this love every day. We can take comfort in knowing His love is true and follows what He says in verse 8, “Love never fails.”
Monday was a very strange evening in my house. I got home from basketball practice at about 6:00 pm and my daughter and wife were sitting in the kitchen talking. As I walked in my daughter exclaimed, “Dad, you’re home; wait, everyone is home at the same time!”
As a parent of three adult children, all living at home, yet all with different schedules, this rarely happens. When I told her I was supposed to head out to scout a basketball game she asked me to please stay home. Knowing how rare these occasions are I agreed. That night for the first time in months the five of us sat at the dining room table and had dinner together.
I honestly can’t remember the last time this happened. We ate and talked and laughed and talked some more. There was nothing special about it. It was just another Monday night. We used to sit for dinner together as a family all the time. But because lives have changed, it was a special night in that it was an ordinary family dinner. At the risk of sounding nostalgic, I am going to remember that evening for a long time.
God gives us family for a reason. He wants us to be around others and feel this closeness with our family. Psalm 68:6 tells us, “God sets the lonely in families.” One thing we always say in the High School I work at is "we are a family." We want every student to feel like they are a part of this family and that they always have a home here.
I pray we all remember we have a loving Father who calls us His children as we are a part of His family.
Last Friday my daughter stopped by my office to pick up something. While talking with her, she asked if I heard what she was doing for the weekend. My stress level immediately went up. When I told her I hadn't heard, she gave me a two minute description of a "Faith Trip" she and three of her friends were taking for the weekend.
The four of them were going to fly to San Francisco for the weekend and try to do ministry for people they ran into. I thought it sounded like a great adventure. Then she told me they didn't know where they would stay but they knew God would provide.
When she returned from her trip she told me all about it. They decided to take $10 among them and no credit cards. They looked for people to help them and people they could help. They spoke and prayed with homeless people. Others gave them food and they ate some and passed some on to others more in need. People provided transportation and they helped someone move out of their apartment.
They experienced what it was like to be tired and hungry and homeless. They also experienced what it was like to trust God and see him provide in very real ways.
At one point she said they were all really hungry and they all wanted some chicken so they prayed God would provide some chicken for them to eat. A little later they ran into a homeless person who had nothing. After asking what they could do to help, she said she would just want something to eat from the Mexican restaurant.
They used their only money to buy her a burrito. The owner of the restaurant asked them what they were doing. When they shared, she asked them to come back when they were done helping her. The owner had chicken burritos waiting for all four of them on their return.
I'm not sure when it happened, but at some point my heroes have become my children. I look at some of the things they do and the way they trust God and I am so thankful for their faith and trust in Him.
I also know a big reason they have the faith they have is because of the many teachers they had and the foundation that was built through their time in high school.
Proverbs 22:6 tells us "Train up a child in the way he should go even when he is old he will not depart from it." Sometimes, that training is more than we as parents can sometimes provide on our own.
Sometimes, it takes a village.
Bob Koehne, husband to Mia, is an educator, coach, mentor and administrator with a love for Jesus and a passion to see lives impacted for Christ through Christian education. These are just some of his writings.
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