4Love is patient, love is kind. It’s not jealous or boastful. It’s not self-important. 5It doesn’t behave indecently, nor does it seek its own way. It doesn’t get provoked. It doesn’t plan evil. 6It doesn’t rejoice in injustice, but it rejoices with the genuine. 7It endures all things, believes all things, hopes all things, is patient through everything. — 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
8Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honest, whatever is righteous, whatever is lovely, whatever gives a good report, if there is any virtue or any praise, think on these things. â€” Philippians 4:8
I hope you’re at least mildly shocked by the title, and perhaps are reading just to find out what I could possibly mean.
No, I don’t think love is boring. But the way our culture functions, one could get the idea that love—divine love as described in our passage—lacks interest. I say that because I have been observing what we talk about and what we listen to. Yesterday my pastor commented on his news viewing in the morning. There had been two stories of celebrities and their troubles that led the news. Only then was there a story about our troops in Iraq and their sacrifice. And this was the Sunday before Memorial Day. When I started my breakfast this morning and turned on the news, one of those same celebrity stories he mentioned was the topic of discussion. Now I don’t know it’s priority because I didn’t even think to look at the clock, but it was the first thing I saw as I turned on the TV.
Reports after the O.J. Simpson trial indicated that a large majority of people polled indicated that they were exceedingly tired of hearing about O.J. and his troubles, and that they would like the media to talk about something else. At the same time, however, the largest audiences on television were being produced byâ€”you guessed itâ€”anything whatever about Simpson.
There’s a big disconnect between what we claim to like, usually because we know we ought to like it, and what we actually watch or listen to. Is our first topic at church Jesus or the things that we can be doing for his kingdom? All too often, the first topic of conversation is something negative that we heard about another church member. When we turn on the television set do we look for information? Do we look for good things that are happening in the world, or do we look for the most exciting violence and the best celebrity gossip?
When someone asks us whether we value the work of a celebrity more or that of our troops sacrificing overseas or here on the home front for our freedom, we will almost always say we place a higher value on the troops. They are risking their lives. But if you look at where the money goes, you know that as a nation we value the celebrities more. Now I understand that each celebrity has many fans who contribute to their wealth and fame. I’m not suggesting that every soldier needs to be a millionaire. But I do think that the way we talk and the way we spend our money does not suggest that the real heroes have the highest priority.
If your television news station spent a day reporting only acts of love, would you watch? Do you think their ratings would be high? I would like to say yes, but I suspect more of us will say we’d watch than would actually get around to doing it.
If love is of the first priority, if all else is nothing without love, should not love as Paul and Jesus defined it be the most important, the most fascinating, and the most sought after thing in our lives?
To the natural man, love is boring. The natural man seeks celebrity. To one filled with the Holy Spirit, love is fascinating.