Our granddaughter had her first science fair this week. Her experiment was asking the question what would happen if you leave out different ingredients when making cupcakes. Her conclusion was that you can leave out some ingredients and still have a cupcake, it might even taste good, but it doesn’t feell or look as good as one with all the ingredients, and if you leave out the flour it’s not even a cupcake.
“And now these three things remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Corinthians 13:13
Our granddaughter found out you needed all the ingredients to have the best cupcake, but flour was the most important. Similarly, we can have all the components of a relationship with Jesus, but love is the most important.
Looking at the relationship of David and Jonathon, I think we see a good balance of these three factors; faith, hope and love. Both David and Jonathon have a tremendous faith in God and each other. They both have the hope of the day David will be king and they have a tremendous love for each other. Even when Jonathon was struggling with the idea that his father, Saul, would want to kill David, he was open enough to investigate it. (1 Samuel 20:1-27)
David and Jonathon had such a rare relationship. As the oldest son to Saul, Jonathon was the “rightful” heir to the throne. But Jonathon saw the character of a king in David; he saw God’s chosen king. How many men would make a covenant that would essentially remove his opportunity to be king? (1 Samuel 18:1-4) How many people do you know that would make this sacrificial covenant today?
There are many stories of self-sacrifice from 9/11, but the one that resonates most with me is the story of Stephen Siller. He was a firefighter who had just finished his shift, he was on his way to play golf with his brothers when he heard on his scanner that a plane had hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
Siller, a devoted family man of faith, drove his truck to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel but it was already closed, so he strapped on his 60 pounds of gear and ran the three plus miles back to the towers. There, he raced into a burning building and ultimately sacrificed his life.
What a beautiful statement of Christian faith it would make if we all lived more like Jonathon and Stephen Siller. What if we seek God’s will, and follow it in complete faith, hope and most importantly love? Where would the world be today? What would Christianity look like?
Jonathon chose the hope of the king God had chosen through his faith. But it was his love that makes this relationship even more exceptional. Stephen didn’t even hesitate when he heard the call about the terrorist act. He simply headed back to the chaos. Both men were brave and led by something bigger than themselves, the Holy Spirit.
My prayer is that we can all seek the Holy Spirit in our decisions. We may never have the opportunity to sacrifice like Jonathan and Stephen, but if we allow the Spirit to move us like that in the little things, oh what a big difference it would make in the world and to Christianity.
As we celebrate love today, let’s look deeper than cards and candy, let’s seek ways to give something bigger than we are and to give it in great love.