In 1 Corinthians chapter 12 Paul has been dealing with spiritual gifts by which individual believers can contribute to the welfare of the whole body of believers. In concluding this chapter he encourages to go for the best gifts. Then he says he wants to point to an even better way.
This leads up to chapter 13, which is St. Paul’s great chapter on Christian Love. This chapter is somewhat lyrical in wording and form. It is something of a song to magnify the kind of love Christians are encouraged to aim at.
In verses 1-3 Paul lists a number of spiritual gifts and states that the value of these, if accompanied by a lack of love, is very limited. In verses 4-7 the apostle is listing aspects of the love he is referring to. Currently I am dealing with the second phrase of verse 7: Love “believeth all things”.
Earlier in verse 2 Paul has been referring to faith that can move mountains. Charismatic or Pentecostal scholars would link this up to the gift of faith mentioned in chapter 12:9.
‘Faith that can move mountains’ makes us think of ways to overcome certain obstacles. Faith here seems to be something of a means to an end. It is the faith required to see certain problems solved.
Here in verse 7 we again read of faith. Faith now is described as an aspect of love.
People tend to pray and believe only when facing difficulties. God then is kind of reduced to a helper in need or a giver of good gifts. Yet when the problems have been resolved, or the desired gifts received, there is a tendency to forget about God.
You may have faith to receive some blessing from God. Having achieved what you wanted, you may end up celebrating these gifts for the rest of your life.
In contrast to this attitude Christian love would focus on cultivating relationship with God. This implies listening to God’s word and heeding his instructions. It involves lining up with God’s intentions and purposes for our individual lives.
The prodigal son did claim his inheritance and then left his father. After some time he lost all these riches and became very poor. Finally he began to think of returning to his father just as a hired servant.
Had he stayed, he could have shared in all the possessions and affluence of his father. He also could have learnt how to keep and to increase the goods available to him in the father’s house.
Love “believeth all things”. If we choose to focus on a love relationship with God, many other divine blessings may become available to us more easily.