Recently, I was asked to give a toast at my brother’s wedding. Not a small task. I kicked around several ideas, but everything I came up with seemed cliché and trite. This was going to be a lot harder than I thought. Given my Christian upbringing, I kept gravitating to the Love Chapter, 1 Corinthians 13. I really didn’t want to go there, but it kept pulling me, so finally I sat down and pondered it. I read it with new eyes.
And Now These Three Remain
We’re all familiar with the passage, 1 Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain, faith, hope and love; but the greatest of these is love. That’s always been my favorite passage in the chapter, but why? Why is the greatest of the three love? Maybe it’s because Love Conquers ALL! Or could it be Love Is Grand! Or perhaps it’s because Love Will Prevail!!
No. Cliché. There has to be another reason. I read and reread it. Paul continually says “Without love, I am nothing.” Knowledge will pass away, tongues will cease, I can accomplish great things, but without love, it’s nothing.
I used to think that Paul was saying that if you were lacking the right intent, if you were doing ‘good works’ for the wrong reasons, then it was meaningless. That if you were doing a good deed to gain the recognition it was shallow; you needed to back all of your actions with the intent of love. But upon further examination, I don’t think that’s what he means at all. In my opinion, what he’s saying is that life without love is a life without purpose. It loses meaning.
Take everything away. Fear, joy, anger, jealousy, sadness, take it all away until the only things that remain are faith, hope and love. The trifecta, if you will, and look at it closely. What is faith without love? It’s nothing. What is hope without love? It’s nothing. If you take away love, you have nothing left. It is the foundation for life and I get that now. I see it in my brother and his new wife like I’ve never seen it before. I can see it in the way they parent their children, the way they laugh together. Even in the way they argue and work out their problems. There is love.
The Toast to Love
So, here’s to you and here’s to Love. I know that in your relationships, there will be hardships. I know that there are good days and that there are bad days, but if you have love, you have what it takes. May you have faith, in each other, faith in your abilities, and faith in the goodness of the world. May you have hope. Hope in the future, hope for a good life, and hope for happiness. But above all, may you have love. Love for yourself, love for your fellow man, love for life. Because without love, the rest loses meaning. Love is truly the foundation for life!