Reflections on a Theme: 1 Corinthians 13

Should I with tongues of men and angles speak,
And with my arms and hands uphold the weak;
And though a prophet I should walk in fame,
And garner all men’s praises to my name,
But have not love -
What am I?

Should all my faith abound to shift a hill
Into the sea, and make its splash be still;
Or should I throw my body to the flames
And care not that my face should suffer shames,
Yet give no love—
What am I?

And should my understanding shake the proud,
And all my goods be sold to feed a crowd;
Or should my gifts of pen and talent reach
Beyond the stars, my daily efforts teach
The young—
But without love,
What am I?

Love suffers—and it suffers long;
It is not bitter when it endures wrong,
And though it knows its talents rare may be
Love finds no joy though all the world should see.
It sees a need—and then it serves;
It does not force the love that it deserves,
And even when its patience is provoked
Will not behave on feelings ill-evoked.

It’s mind is clear—rejecting lies;
No matter every failure, still love tries
To live in hope, and bear its burden still
Though hell should tempt each angle of its will.
Love’s back is strong; its hands are rough
From doing more for needs than is enough
Because it knows the seeds it sows through God
Will reap a harvest in the path it trod.

Perfection love will not demand;
It only asks for care behind the hand
That gives, and heart behind the words that spill
A stream of life, and stems the words that kill.
But love like this—where shall we ever find?
For we behind this darkened glass are blind
And see not as the Perfect One sees us,
Perhaps it is His love that we must trust…

To be the Hands, the Voice we cannot be
In our own strength of “man’s own good” in me
That rivals best in God, until it sees its need
And casts itself beneath the Hands that bleed.
O Love, upon that jagged cross of wood!
That spoke “It’s done!” though it was me who stood
Beneath its shadow, in my crippled state
Resigned to perish in a devil’s fate!

How shall my mouth and hands accept such good
As flows in torrents off that cross of wood,
And strikes the lintel of my poor, weak heart
And all the love of God to me imparts?
“Please help me, Lord, believe and bear in love;
Accept in meekness Your life from above,
And let my flesh with Christ be crucified
And every motive in You sanctified.”

Thus let me walk in quiet unity
Along life’s path, forsaking vanity
As fixing eyes upon the Saviour’s face
My helplessness bespeaks His work of grace,
And “self” becomes a theme of nothingness
That blends into His flawless plan of bliss
While every action speaks of virtues three—
Sweet faith, fair hope,
And ageless charity.



1 JOHN 4:7-21

HEBREWS 2:10; 7:11, 19; 13:20-21

GALATIANS 5:22-26; 6:9, 14-15

EPHESPIANS 2:7-16; 4:13-16, 29-32

PSALMS 138:8

My Utmost for His Highest: “December 9th: The Offence of the Natural” by Oswald Chambers

photo courtesy: Amberlin Biegel

3 thoughts on “Reflections on a Theme: 1 Corinthians 13

  1. Wowwww…. This is incredible. Somehow every poem you write turns out to be exactly what I needed to hear at that particular time! And this one is no different….
    Thank you so much for sharing your talent, it’s been such a blessing!!

    Liked by 1 person

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