One Verse, a Lifetime of Effort

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful.” [1 Corinthians 13:4&5 ESV]

Bible and wedding ring © Aandbphotos |

Years ago, I heard Dr. Juan Carlos Ortiz speak. He told a story from when his Buenos Aires church had grown to more than 1000 people:

One Sunday, after worship, Juan Carlos got up to give the message. He said ‘Brothers and sisters, my text this morning is, “Love one another.”‘ Then he closed his Bible, and returned to his seat. After a couple minutes of confusion and whispering, he got up, went to the pulpit, and again said ’Brothers and sisters, my text this morning is, “Love one another.”‘ Again he returned to his seat. A nervous elder came to whisper in his ear “Brother Juan, the people need to hear more.” Ortiz replied, “When they do what I have said, I will say more.” He waited a bit, then for a third time he got up, said ‘Brothers and sisters, my text this morning is, “Love one another.”‘ He returned to his seat.

It was then that someone in the congregation said to a person near them “I don’t know you. Is there any way I can love you?” Someone else did the same, then another. Soon the church was abuzz with people looking for ways to love each other. Juan Carlos said they had a couple of dozen unemployed people in church that morning, and every one left with a job. Single mothers and the poor went home with food, money, and commitments of on-going help. For three months, this was the only message that was preached – one simple command, “Love one another.” The “rest of the story” can be found at A Pilgrim’s Journal: Transcription: Love One Another.

With this in mind, maybe I should post nothing but the passage at the top every day for three months. I suspect I would lose most of my readers, but I wonder if a few might “get it” and start to love their wife in the ways the Bible says love should be expressed.

Those two verses sound good, and we all agree with them, but they are most difficult to live! Are you always patient and kind? Are you free of envy, boasting, and demanding your own way? Are you guilty of being irritable or resentful? 

Yeah, same here. Those things are lofty goals I know I will never reach, but I continue to fight towards them day by day. When I look back, I can see I have grown a great deal; I am closer to those goals now than I was in the past. That encourages me. I continue to fail, but I have proven I can do better, and I know that with His help I will continue to improve. 

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7 Comments on “One Verse, a Lifetime of Effort

  1. I recommend reading ALL the Carlos story – This is absolutely Powerful!

  2. I attended a conference this weekend at a church whose motto is “Love God. Love People. Period.” That’s what they do, and it shows.

  3. Great post! I think we should all make more of an effort in showing love and compassion to everyone we encounter, and most especially to our spouses. Going out of our way to do them a little favor every now and then will go a very long way in showing the love in our relationships.

  4. For most churches, there certainly is a lack of “Now, go and do what was just preached to you”.

    I don’t know Pastor Carlos or his perspective. So I’m only responding to a snapshot. My concern is that simply stating an imperative week after week is no better than giving people the Ten Commandments, which are a ministry of death. Grace must be at the root of our actions, and 1 Cor. 11 is in a bigger context of who you actually are in Christ as his body.

    “In Christ, God loves you passionately and completely. Therefore, extend that love to others.”

    Without grace, people will turn to their own strength to try to fulfill the law. So would your blog readers, Paul. So challenge us, yes. But not on the basis of legal demands or obligations, but as freed children of the risen King who loved us and gave himself for us.

    • Rob – No argument with your conclusion.

      Ortiz took a small church and saw it turn into a mega-church in a few years. He was teaching all the right things, but not seeing the fruit he thought should be there. He lost 300 people in those three months, and he would tell you that was God thinning out the flock.

      When the second step came, the remaining members of the church began to move in their community in an awesome and powerful way. Cleary he heard what God wanted then (the late 70’s) and there (Buenos Aires). That does not mean it’s what works now and here – that kind of cookie cutter strategy always ends badly!

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