1 Corinthians 13 — “It’s amazing Molly. The love inside; you take it with you!” Now, that is a classic movie line if there ever was one. It is, of course, one of the last spoken lines of the 1990 movie, “Ghost”.

Paul states in vv. 8-12 of this chapter that love is the only thing that lasts forever. He says that our spiritual gifts such as prophecy and special knowledge become useless in eternity because they are only partial and incomplete. This passage got me to thinking about two things. First, about what Paul says about spiritual gifts and second about what Paul says completeness in heaven.

Because we are incomplete, imperfect, and flawed human beings with limited understandings of God’s creation and even of our ownselves, we are each given specific gifts by God. We could not handle all spiritual gifts at once because of our limited nature. Thus, each one of us is given one or more spiritual gifts as our unique contributions to the symmetry of God’s plan for mankind through the church. God gives us our spiritual gifts for our lives here on earth in order to build up, serve and strengthen the church and its fellowship of believers. We all have something to give. We all have unique talents that God has given us to make the entire body of Christ more effective. We should never think that just because we have a certain gift from God as our talent that it makes it in some way superior to the gifts given others. Because of our limited nature here on earth, we each have a role to play. None are more important than another. The guys on the parking team at our church are as important on Sunday mornings as the preacher who preaches. If we do not have our guys out there directing people to the most efficient use of our limited parking spaces, a seeker may turn around and leave and never here the sermon that the preacher preaches that they needed to hear. Thus, we should never let our talents make us feel superior to another. We should never let our talents separate and divide us. Because Paul tells us, these talents that we have are incomplete things and will become useless to us in heaven anyway. Our talents are this plane of existence only. Thus, they are meaningless in heaven because the only thing we carry with us when we go to heaven is the love in our souls. Our gifts and talents are meaningless in eternity, only love remains. Our gifts and talents do not carry over so they are not something that we should lord over others. We will all be equally perfected in heaven for those of us who know Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.

The second thing that comes to my mind from reading these verses is the concept of clarity that we gain in heaven. It has been a point that has been driven home to me lately as the result of the death of the mother of my children, my ex-wife, 11 days ago. She died suddenly at the age of 54 from an apparent heart attack or severe stroke. One month shy of age 55, she was. Because of the combination of the losses she suffered in her lifetime and because of her personality, even my daughters will tell you that she was a difficult person to deal with. But the point that I kept coming back to about her death was that now she sees with clarity as has entered into the heavenly realms where God dwells. On earth, she may have felt that people did not care about her the way that they should have. Maybe, here she felt as though no one cared. Maybe, here, she felt that people should do things only her way. Maybe, here, she could not understand how her actions appeared to others. Maybe, here, she could not understand how the words she used were often daggers to the people that heard them. Maybe, here, she felt unloved by many. However, when we take Jesus’ hand and exit this side of eternity, we begin to see things in perfect clarity. We have knowledge that is complete. Paul compares it to the maturity of a child vs. the maturity of a grown up. There are just things that kids are incapable of understanding until they grow up and have more and more life experiences. It is the same with us when we get to heaven. There are things that we just cannot understand in this life on earth because of the limitations of being sinful human beings with limited intellect and limited understanding of space and time. Right now, we know so little. When we go to heaven, we gain all understanding. The things that we didn’t understand here; we have complete understanding of there. Lisa now knows that Meghan and Taylor loved her even though they did not always agree with her. She can see the love and feel their love now. Lisa now knows that not everyone was her enemy. Lisa now knows that her family cared about her. She now knows that I did not hate her and had forgiven her a long time ago for all the bitter things that happened at the end of our marriage and through our divorce. She can now see all things clearly. All that happened the moment she took Jesus’ hand. All the fears, all the insecurities, all the loneliness, all of it washes away into the complete knowledge of God that flowed through Jesus’ hand as she took it into hers as she passed into eternity.

Everything that we hold dear here on earth, everything we take pride in here on earth, everything talent we have, every resource that God allows us to have, every ounce of pride, every earthbound limited thing that we cling to in this life as being meaningful to us is meaningless in eternity. The only thing we take with us is the love. That makes love the only thing worth having here on earth. Maybe, we, then, should concentrate on loving others as Christ loved us rather than putting our stock in things that do not last. Love is the only thing that last forever, according to Paul.

It is amazing, Molly. The love inside you take it with you. It’s the only thing we take with us. As those great philosophers, The Beatles, said, “Love. Love. Love. All ya need is love. Love is all you need. Love is all you need.”

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