1 Corinthians 13 — The Christian Love Investment Strategy — Invest for the Long Haul, Don’t Cash In Too Early

Posted: July 29, 2015 in 46-1 Corinthians

1 Corinthians 13 — Love is a long-term investment. Love is not day-trading. Love is stock that you buy and hold the investment through the peaks and valleys of the market. Love is an investment for the long-haul. It is an investment that you hold even when the market is screaming that you sell, sell, sell. May we have a love investment strategy that is for the long haul where we do not sell it off at the first sign of a dip in the market.

Today, we finish up the characteristics of love. What love is and what love is not. We have spent a great deal of time here as we have gone through each characteristic one by one. You as the reader have endured to the end. Today, we talk about how as Paul says love endures every circumstance. That’s a pretty high standard but that is the love that we as Christ followers must have so that we can be imitators of Christ.

Love endures every circumstance means that we love regardless of whether we get payback on our love or not. So many of us expect that we are going to get paid back for our love. A man brings his wife flowers and writes a beautiful card with the expectation that she will be intimate with him later. A wife fixes her husband his favorite meal and compliments him profusely just so she can go out with the girls later. These are examples of how we all love at times. We invest with the expectation that we will get a return on our investment. We love with the expectation that if I do this for you then you will do this for me. Is this really love? When we call this love that we do something for another person so that will do something for us is not really love, is it? Is it more like manipulation than love? Real love is doing something for someone just because you know they will enjoy what you are doing for them. You know they likes and dislikes and you try to meet their needs because for no other reason than you love them. Think of how we are with our children. For much of their lives, they do not appreciate what parents do for them. As a matter of fact, they often expect and demand that we do as much as possible for them without any sign that they appreciate it. Often as teenagers, our children have great disdain for us but yet we as parents still love them. Our love for them endures all the lack of appreciation, the lack of payback. We love them no matter how bad they treat us. Our love endures.

Love endures every circumstance means also that we never throw in the towel on a relationship. This concept seems almost foreign to marital relationships now and also to friendships. Today, if a marriage does not meet my needs, if a marriage has any conflict in it at all, we are ready to bolt. Marriage is no longer seen as a lifetime commitment. It is seen as a commitment that we stick with as long as it is fun and it is not hard work. Real marital love is expressed in a wife sticking by her alcoholic husband for years until he finds recovery. Real marital love is seen in the husband who instead of divorcing his wife for infidelity works through the pain and works on the marriage to make it better. Real marital love requires that we work through the tough times where everything in you screams to run for the hills. Real marital love is making it work when everyone tells you that you deserve better than him or you deserve better than her. That’s why we should think long and hard before we get married. Real love endures that hard times. Real love does not abandon. Real love is a choice not a feeling. Real love does not give up just because you are not paying me back. Real love means you signed up for everything. Real love means I love you when you are having a bad day. Real love means I love you when you are have a bad week or bad year. Real love endures til the end.

The same can be said for non-marital relationships as well. Few of us have friends for a lifetime even if we live in the same geographic area all of our lives. Over a lifetime, even if spent in the same place, we allow people to drift out of our lives. Real friendships are those that endures through all things. Few can say that they have had a friend for a lifetime. Often we treat our friendships today in the same way that we treat marriages. Our friendships must do something for us. We throw them away when they are not meeting my needs. Those friendships that last a lifetime are the ones where you love the other friend regardless of how they act. You look past that night where he cussed you out and get back to being friends the next day. Friendships that last a lifetime are those that allow the other person to just be who they are without having to meet any requirements to be your friend. This kind of love means that you will drop what you are doing to be there for your friend not because you expect to get anything out of it but because you need them. This kind of love does not keep record of how many times “I have been there for you” vs. how many times “You have been here for me.” That is real love. That is real friendship. That is the kind that lasts a lifetime. Real love endures.

Love endures all things. It remains even when circumstances make everything in you cry out to walk away but you stay. This kind of love is a choice. It says that I am going to love you no matter what happens. This is the love that God has for us. He patiently waits for us. He loves us no matter what we say or do. He could easily abandon us and reject us and say we are not worth it. But God sees what we can be in Him. He loves us so much that He sent His Son to be the sacrificial lamb offered up to save us from sin and death. God could have divorced himself from us. He could have washed His hands of us. But He did not. He invested in us through stepping into human history as Jesus Christ so that we would have a reconciled relationship with Him not a broken one. God loves us no matter how we treat Him. God loves us even when we are like teenagers treating their parents like crap. God loves us always. God loves us forever. God’s love for us endures all the rage that throw at Him. He loves us without expectation of it ever being returned. His love endures so that there can be that moment we turn to Him through His Son Jesus Christ. We must love in the same way that God loves us. Without love that endures, we are simply manipulating people to get what we want and then we throw them away. Love that endures make the celebrations on the mountaintops sweeter because we did not abandon the ones we love in the valleys. Just think of how much joy it brings God when we finally turn to Him. Love that endures is love that brings tears of joy to your eyes. Let us love one another in this way. Let us not be a people that does not throw relationships away like we throw away yesterday’s garbage. Let us have love that endures all things, all circumstances. Are you willing to invest for the long haul? Are you willing not to run at the first sign of trouble? There are long term investors so let us be long term lovers willing to hold our relationships through every peak and valley. Let us love without regard to getting our investment repaid immediately. It is true in investing that often we miss the biggest payoff when we cash in too early. Love that endures is love that has the biggest payday.

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