Sunday, January 9, 2011

A stranger appeared on our doorstep the other day. It had been raining for several days and our driveway was a mess. This guy had taken a wrong turn and ended up getting stuck.

“Excuse me, ma’am, is your husband home?”

How did I answer that? Nowadays, admitting that a woman is home alone is not exactly a bright idea. “Um, he’s at work, but my son is here. Can I help you with something?”

The guy pointed down the driveway. “I’m stuck, and wondered if you could pull me out.”

I tossed a nervous glance at my husband’s four wheel drive pickup parked next to the house. “Uh, yeah, I guess so. Can you hold on a second? I’ll get my son.”

At that moment, Max came tearing around the corner, barking and growling.

“Whoa,” the guy said, backing up a step. “Does he bite?”

“Yes,” I said. “Don’t reach down to him. Max, come here.”

Max obeyed, but he kept his gaze firmly fixed on the stranger, the hair on his back standing on end.

The guy took a step forward. “Do you have a tow strap--?”

That was as far as he got. Max jumped between him and me and started growling and barking like crazy.

“You’d better wait right there,” I said, picking Max up. “I’ll get my son.”

“Okay.” The guy smiled. “That’s a good dog, right there. He’s pretty protective, huh?”

I laughed. “You could say that.”

Well, we got the guy unstuck and he went on his way without incident, but the whole time I thought about how Max had protected me. Out of sheer love, he was willing to sacrifice himself in order to keep me safe. I guess that’s what God meant when He said love never fails. And I guess that’s what He meant when He commanded us to love one another.

1 Corinthians 13 (New International Version)

1 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.


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