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Have you ever lost your cell phone? Did you panic and pat your pockets or dig through your purse? When we loose something important like our phone or credit card, we search for it, don’t we. We retrace our steps, enlist others to help us and keep looking until we find it. The longer we look, the more our anxiety rises. That’s because what we seek is so important to us.
1 Corinthians 13:5 says this about love, “It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (NIV) Did you catch the second phrase? Love is not self-seeking. I find the word Paul used for seek interesting. It is the same word that describes our search for a lost phone or credit card. It is the same word Jesus used of the woman searching for a lost coin or the shepherd searching for a lost sheep. It is urgent and focused on what is highly valuable.
The phrase Paul used could be translated “does not seek himself.” It describes someone who thinks he or she is the most important. Someone who is intently focused on having their own way. Someone who is as focused on themselves as Jesus is focused on seeking the lost. Maybe that’s the best way to understand this description of love. Others are so important to us that we seek their interests and not our own.
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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.