Paul explained to the Corinthian church what true love is, and how it relates to real life. In essence, everything we do must begin out of a heart of love. Love is the most important thing in the universe. God’s love was demonstrated towards us for a reason. He could have told us forever what love is, but God, wanting all to know the truth about perfect love, showed the universe what it looks like to love. Without love, nothing that we do in this world has any value.
A Play Called “The Loan”
This play is a lighthearted, silly look at a man applying for a one million dollar loan. It is designed to make people laugh. The one million dollars is significant in that it is a 1 followed by a bunch of zeros. You can have all of the zeros in the world lined up, but until you add the one in front of them, you have nothing. God says that life works the same way. You can have all of the good things in the world lined up, but until you put love in front of them all, you have nothing.
Typically, I will pick a couple of people from the audience to play the starring roles. As I read the story, they act it out, and repeat the few lines their character has right after I read them. This story also needs sound effects, so I get several people to be the sound effect crew for the show. They simply try to make the sound effects that are a part of the story.
Once upon a time there lived a poor schmuck—oh, wait a minute, that’s all one word, and it’s a name. Say, you must be Mr. Poorschmuck. He nodded his head in agreement. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce to you Mr. Poorschmuck. A rather unique individual, handsome, debonair---well, okay then, he’s a rather unique individual, none the less. We begin our story today at Mr Poorschmuck’s house. It is very early in the morning. The sun is just coming up, and we find Mr. Poorschmuck asleep on the floor. I told you he was a unique person. There is Mr. Poorschmuck asleep on the floor. Now, he would probably be too embarrassed to admit it in public, but as you can see, he sleeps with a teddy bear. He sleeps with a teddy bear. Isn’t that just adorable?! Well, on with the story. Just then, a kitten went racing down the street---followed by a seal. Suddenly the alarm clock next to him---went off. And it kept going and going. Mr. Poorschmuck sat up, and turned off that awful sounding alarm and said, “Ah, it’s morning”. Just then, the neighbor’s dog came running through his yard barking. He was a big dog. A really big dog. The biggest dog Mr. Poorschmuck had ever seen. He opened his window---and yelled at the dog “Git outa here”. That scared the dog so badly that he ran off yelping. Mr. Poorschmuck clapped his hands together and said, “Well, today is the day I go apply for a loan at the bank”. His excitement is very plain to see---he concealed his excitement well. Just then a fire truck went racing down the street---followed by a seal. “Time to get dressed” Mr. Poorschmuck said. But what to wear. He needed just the right clothes. He slipped one shirt on, then another over that, and then another over that one. The layered look was his favorite. “This ensemble needs a tie” he said. He found a tie and slipped it over his head. Just then a race car went racing down the street---followed by a seal. “I need a hat” he said. He found his favorite hat, put it on and headed for the bank on the other side of the room. When he got to the bank, he couldn’t see the door at first. They had just cleaned the glass doors so well they were almost invisible. Luckily, he spotted the almost invisible glass doorknob and opened the door. Wait a minute, the sign on the door says PUSH/PULL. The door squeaked on its hinges as he opened it. Just then a popcorn and peanut vendor went racing down the street---followed by a seal. As he walked into the bank, he looked around and spotted the loan officer sitting behind her desk. He knew right away who she was from the sign on her desk that read MS. Gotalotado. Mr. Poorschmuck walked up to the desk very suavely, sat down on a corner of it, and with the panache of a man of sophisticated background, leaned over and whispered to MS. Gotalotado, “I’m here to borrow one million dollars”. Just then a bumblebee went racing down the street---followed by a seal. MS. Gotalotado was shocked in disbelief---she concealed her shock and disbelief well. She said, “That’s a lotta dough, That’s a lotta bread, That’s a lotta moolah, That’s a lotta cabbage, That’s a lotta dinero, That’s a lotta wampum, That’s a lotta scratch, That’s a lotta lettuce, That’s a lotta clams, That’s a lotta scrip, That’s a lotta loot, That’s a lotta bucks, That’s a lotta simoleans, That’s a lotta dead presidents.” “Do you know what a million dollars is worth?” she said. Mr. Poorschmuck got down on his knees in front of the desk, looked MS. Gotalotado straight in the eyes, brought his hand to his face, pointed his finger, and picked his nose. (Uh, the script doesn’t say what he does with it, I’m sorry.) “I have no idea what a million dollars is worth.” said Mr. Poorschmuck. Just then a duck went racing down the street---followed by a seal. Mr. Poorschmuck continued, “It’s just a bunch of zeroes and a one”. MS. Gotalotado looked his straight in the eyes, brought her hand up to her face, pointed her finger, and picked her nnnnnnnoooootes up off the table. “You are hopeless” she said. Mr. Poorschmuck got up and as he was turning to leave he said, “MS. Gotalotado, will you marry me?” Just then a herd of sheep went racing down the street---followed by a seal. The noise drowned out her answer to him. Tune in next week, when Mr. Poorschmuck runs for city council with the platform of keeping livestock and especially seals off the street. Just then another seal raced down the street.
In I Corinthians 13, Paul breaks our actions and dealings in life into 5 basic areas. 1. Speech—what we say to others, about others…everything that comes out of our mouths. 2. Knowledge—our understanding of the world we live in and how it operates. 3. Faith—our relationship to God, the church, and everything religious. 4. Generosity—what we give to others and to God: our time, talents, or money. 5. Our physical self—extreme sacrifice. Everything we endure for others. He reminds us that all of these things are noble and worthwhile activities for anyone to partake of. But if love is not the motivating factor, if love is not what makes us do the things we do, then we have been wasting our time. $1,000,000 is an enormous amount of money. All of those zeros are impressive. But without the 1 in front of them all, we have nothing of value whatsoever.
He then defines love in a very clear way. Imagine a prism setting in a beam of light, and as the light refracts in the glass, it is broken into a rainbow of colors. Here we have love divided out in much the same way. We speak of love as a single entity or thing, but it is actually made up of many things. Love is:
Patient—love passive. Waiting on the sidelines, calm and meek, but ready.
Kind—love active. In kindness to others we “do unto others”.
Does not envy—love not jealous. The green eyed monster must be tamped down.
Humble—love hiding. Keeping ourselves in the shadows, and others first.
Courteous—love in society. Politeness and etiquette, it’s the little things that matter.
Even tempered—love not provoked. A hot temper is given a pass in our society today.
No delight in evil—love building others up. People are influenced by those who believe in them.
Protective—love unselfish. Expending our self to ensure another’s safe passage.
Trusting—love believing. Trust, the first cousin of loyalty.
Hope—love to come. Hope is a confidence in what is to come. A promise fulfilled
Perseveres—love always. We never give up and quit—no matter what.
Love is the most important thing in the world. I John 4:8 explains why. God is love.