Now many years ago I attended a youth group meeting of a church. For some reason we had a discussion about getting married and the married life. We were talking about advantages of being married.
I cannot recall what the others said, but I do remember what my own contribution was. I said: “When I am married, I have something to eat.”
Actually I did not mean this to be a deep theological or spiritual insight. Neither was my intention to proclaim this as a supreme aspect of having a partner. To be honest, however, I thought, the idea was practical enough.
Meanwhile more than twenty years have gone by. I am still an unmarried single. I am living on my own and have to care for my own food and catering.
Today I am moving on to the second phrase of verse 5 in 1 Corinthians 13: Love “seeketh not her own.” (KJV). Now I am thinking about what this would mean and what it probably would not mean.
Is it wrong for me to take care that I get something to eat every day? In fact when I myself don’t care, most of the time, no one else will.
Admittedly, eating is primarily for my own benefit. On the other hand – in most cases – I don’t believe it would be a genuine token of Christian love, if I were starving myself to death.
In fact I might come up with some “highly spiritual” point of view, saying lack of food may mean I don’t have enough strength to give a helping hand to others when needed. It seems quite realistic that I would be more able to give to others what they need, if at least some of my own basic needs already have been met.
But what if I were married and my only interest in my partner were that she should invariably cook some timely and tasty meals for me? I might say: Your language of love is cooking, mine is eating! As I eat the food you are cooking for me, I really appreciate what you are doing for me. I can taste and feel how fortunate I am to have you.
Certainly, holding in high esteem what others do for me is an aspect of Christian love. This is a way of attaching value to somebody.
Nevertheless you cannot build a relationship merely on cooking and eating. A husband only concerned about the food he gets from his wife probably is kind of selfish. Rather than taking a wife such a person might just as well hire a cook!
This is meant as an introduction to my discussion of love, self-care and selfishness. This is my first post on the second part of verse 5. I do not know how many posts are going to follow.
I have written ten posts on the words: Love is not rude. These were posts referring to manners and behaviour. The blog-posts to come are going to deal with inner drives. Selfishness is a matter of our motives.
Is it wise to talk that much about food as I have done today? I think at least it is an illustration everybody can relate to.