Daily D – 1 Corinthians 13:4
Love is patient. Love is kind. 1 CORINTHIANS 13:4 (NLT)
This time of year often feels more like the beginning of a new year than New Year’s Day. Students return to school. Football and volleyball players begin practices. Band members arise early to beat the heat. Moms and Dads settle into the routines of the school year along with their children. Before you know it, August is over, September is a sprint, October is over, and the holidays arrive. On December 26, we wonder how it all passed so quickly.
This year is a little different. The normal butterflies of a new school year are accompanied by deep anxiety regarding a pandemic that simply will not go away. What we thought we knew six months ago is no longer true. What we thought we had beaten three months ago is still with us. The rules we thought we could live with not that long ago have changed. Again.
Everyone is on edge.
This pandemic feels like it is never going to end. Many want to help make things better. However, well-meaning teams and individuals struggle because their plans do not align and mesh. We have never been this way before. This is an extraordinary time. This means we need extraordinary patience and kindness to survive and to thrive.
The most loving thing we can do in this season that never ends is to demonstrate patience. The King James Version says here, “Charity suffereth long.” Patience requires practice. Patience takes time. Patience is a muscle developed through repeated use.
Kindness is love stripped of safeguards arrayed to protect tender hearts. Kindness speaks gently. Kindness embraces appropriately and when the time is right. Kindness knows when to speak, when to listen, and when to pray. Kindness is the softness that gently opens hardened hearts.
Today, and every day, patience and kindness are tested in a thousand different ways. You and I can consider these challenges or opportunities. Challenges make us puff up like mean old cats. When we see every problem as an opportunity, we practice patience, we lead with kindness. Even when the other person does not behave appropriately, we will. If we lead with love, we win. How can we say this so confidently? Look at verse 13:
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
Lead yourself and lead others with patience and kindness. It is the most loving thing you can do. It is the only way to truly win. Wouldn’t it feel good to have a win in this long season of loss?
I will live and lead with patience and kindness.
Our Father, as surely as I say I am going to live and lead with patience and kindness, I know I will be tested immediately and repeatedly. Empower me to overcome the challenges of this day and this season. Strengthen me for what is ahead. Empower me to live and lead with patience and kindness. Amen.
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Psalm 139:17, 18 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!
2 Corinthians 5:1-5 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 10:13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.