Remember the wail of that Mid-Eighties diva, Tina Turner?
“What’s love got to do, got to do with it? What’s love but a second hand emotion?”
A movie with the same title as the song was made about the recording artist’s life. Tina Turner had walked away from an abusive marriage in the mid-seventies. As a result she seems to belt out with authority: “Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken!”
It is a valid question… What does love have to do with it?
Relationships at work seldom need love to be professional. Ball players can perfect their stats for a team that they don’t necessarily “love.” (see Barry Bonds) Attorneys can get feuding parties to come to the table with very little love involved.
Doesn’t love just lead to a lot of hearts being left on shirt sleeves and a lot of anger and bitterness when love is lost? Is pain the only redemption value for love’s deposit?
And when a heart is broken… how does one fix it?
Neil Clark Warren in his book, Catching the Rhythm of Love notes that… “Over the past several decades, psychology, phychiatry, and other mental health disciplines have focused on a problem centered approach. Practitioners in these fields usually try to
identify what’s wrong and then set about fixing it. It you were to consult a counselor, one of the first things you would likely hear is: “Now, tell me what’s wrong with your marriage.”
A friend told him: When our marriage became seriously troubled we started therapy. We went for twenty sessions or so and every session made our marriage worse. He asked him why. He responded: “Our therapy consisted of cataloging our problems and zeroing in on them one by one. It was blood bath. We dissected each problem in excruciating detail. We talked endlessly about our flaws and failings. By the end of the sessions, my wife and I felt like heavyweight boxers who had just gone twelve rounds. But here’s the worse part: during the week our wounds would heal a
little bit, and then we’d go back the next week and tear each other’s scabs off. The bloodletting would begin all over again. We seldom spoke to each other on the way home, and we fumed for days. Our therapy didn’t make us feel hopeful. It made us feel hopeless.”
We all have someone we need to love: A child, a parent, a neighbor, a co-worker. And we quote the lyrics to a different song: “I want to know where love is! I want you to show me!” Time, indifference, personality or circumstances have driven you apart… where is the path that leads to love again? Well it isn’t introspection. It isn’t satisfying justice… repairing broken hearts isn’t like fixing a car.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul is a lot like a counselor to the troubled church. He starts out in chapters 1-11 to point out their problems: division, strife, immorality. He then takes 5
chapters to answer their questions. In the midst of a question regarding spiritual gifts, Paul says basically: “I want to know where the love is.”
1 Cor. 12:29-31a reads: Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?  Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?  But eagerly desire the greater gifts.
Some translations have a footnote that says that last portion can be translated: “Buy you are earnestly desiring the greater gifts.”
Knowing the Corinthian church as one would from reading the 12 chapters that have lead to that verse, I think that is a more accurate reading. They were scrabbling for
position with their gifts. Everyone wanted the flashy stuff to prove their importance to the body. These precious gifts that had been granted them by their loving Father had become bargaining chips in the politics of church business.
So Paul says: “And now I will show you the most excellent way. “
Note what Paul does: He doesn’t dissect the actions of each camp and put them in their places. That ISN’T the way to love. The “excellent way” would not involve their
giftness, but their capacity to love others.
So “What’s love got to do with Spiritual Gifts? EVERYTHING! Paul asserts.