Methodist Logo

Dr. Jay P. Cook, Pastor

Home
Meetings
Weekly Bible Reading
Sermons
Events
Links & Tools
Contact Info

 

What Really Matters Most?
I Corinthians 13

Intro

There is a question in life that will be there as long as we live.  What is the difference between what matters and what seems to matter and how do we decide?  Everyone is faced with it – it is an ongoing question of life.  What really matters most?
We All Face That Question: 
When You Are Young:

Then When We Are Older:

As we get older we are dogged by the tyranny of the urgent.   So many things to do, so little time to get them done; what really matters?   

Being a Christian what matters? 
Ever think you are running in place and making no head way.  Or does it feel like you are a ladle dipping into a large body of water like the Atlantic Ocean; dipping and dipping and all you have created is a small puddle and at the end of the day?
Have we made any difference?  And we ask ourselves is what we are doing and being making a difference.   At the end of a week, at the end of a month, at the end of the year which we are at now have we done anything that really matters?  Have you, have I decided to do things that really matter?  Do we know the difference between what matters and what seems to matter.

How do we decide between what matters and what really matters?

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (NLT)
1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. 4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when full understanding comes, these partial things will become useless. 11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

The gifts are good, but they are worthless if done without love.  So Paul lays that out in the first stanza of this great hymn of love in 1 Corinthians 13. He says, “If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal…”

How many languages can you speak – I can speak English sort of.  But Paul is talking about someone that can speak all languages including the language of angels. 

Paul imagines somebody who is able to speak all the languages of earth. Talk about a gift.  Nobody's ever had that gift to that extent.

My 2nd cousin is fluent in Russian and Chinese and has been in England for years as an attorney.  So that makes 3 languages. 

We had a missionary in my last church that has spent time in China and India as a teacher of English and even has worked on creating a written language for people living in northern India.  

The latest count on known languages is over 6900 languages.  Imagine how awesome that would be to speak 6900 languages especially speaking to them about Christ.  And yet Paul said if you have that gift as no one has ever had it and you don't have love, you're a noisy gong, a clanging cymbal.

Love matters most. The point's clear, isn't it? Among the things that matter, love really matters. In fact, if you don't have love, all of your Christian service comes to nothing. We need to note that in our churches we put a great deal of emphasis on sincerity and sacrifice and service and the use of our gifts, but they can be a kind of service from which all love has been squeeze.

We have a kind of service that is just self- advertising: I'll give to the poor if you name the mission after me. But Paul says that of all the things that matter, love really matters.

If you have a bulletin – I figure we pass them out so you can doodle on them while I am preaching. 

I suggest that you take the page and draw a row of zeroes. It adds up to nothing. So do another row and another row and then another row and another row and another row.

It makes no difference how many rows you do the whole thing adds up to nothing. But you take one zero and put a one in front of it, it counts for ten, two is a hundred, three is a thousand, six is a million. And in some way that's true of love.

Minister, go use all your gifts without love and it adds up to nothing. But take the smallest gift and minister it in love and it counts. It counts with people, and it counts with Jesus Christ.

Conclusion

On Nov. 14, NYPD officer Lawrence DePrimo, who was on counterterrorism duty in Times Square, saw an older homeless man without shoes sitting on 42nd Street. DePrimo, 25, left and then returned with a pair of $100 boots he bought at a nearby Skechers store.
"It was freezing out, and you could see the blisters on the man's feet," DePrimo, a three-year veteran of the department who lives with his parents on Long Island, told the New York Times. "I had two pairs of socks, and I was still cold."
The random act of kindness was captured by Jennifer Foster, a tourist from Florence, Ariz., who was visiting the city. Foster, communications director for the Pinal County Sheriff's Office in Arizona, emailed the photo to the NYPD with a note commending DePrimo.
"The officer said, 'I have these size 12 boots for you, they are all-weather. Let's put them on and take care of you,'" Foster wrote. "The officer squatted down on the ground and proceeded to put socks and the new boots on this man.”I have been in law enforcement for 17 years," she continued. "I was never so impressed in my life. ... It is important, I think, for all of us to remember the real reason we are in this line of work. The reminder this officer gave to our profession in his presentation of human kindness has not been lost.

 

Please click here for attached slides to the sermon.