This month, January 2008, marks the 51st year  of the series of little articles that have come to  be known as Minute Meditations. The first one  appeared in the January 1958 edition of this magazine  when we first became the editor.

Now, just think about how much has changed  since then, those who were alive then are now 50  years older or have fallen asleep, and there are literally  billions of people who have been born in the last 50  years. A loaf of bread then cost 19 cents and a gallon  of gas was 24 cents. A first class postage stamp was 4  cents, and the average annual income was $4650.00.  Nikita Khrushchev was the Soviet leader and Ike  Eisenhower was the president and Richard Nixon  the vice president of the United States.

That first Minute Meditation dealt with the subject  of love. It is a subject that never grows old even  though we all do. We quoted from the book, “The  Greatest Thing in the World” by Henry Drummond,  where the author lists the nine ingredients of love  as outlined by Paul in the thirteenth chapter of first  Corinthians. Understanding the components of love  is still just as relevant today as it was 50 years ago, and  also nearly 2000 years ago when Paul first penned  those words.

Everyone wants to be loved. Brian Tracey has said,  “The only thing that you can never have too much of,  is love”. How do we get more love? By giving love.  How? By putting into practice the ingredients of  love as outlined by Paul. Henry Drummond explains  that the nine ingredients of love are patience, kindness,  generosity, humility, courtesy, unselfishness,  good temper, guilelessness and sincerity. We need to  remember and practice all nine of these if we are to  show the godly type of love that Paul was preaching.  Paul explains, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not  envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude,  it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps  no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but  rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts,  always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails”.

If all of us were to show love to everyone else by  practising the nine ingredients, we would all feel loved,  but is it possible to love everyone? Suppose we don’t  feel like loving certain people. Jesus explained to his  disciples, “But if you love those who love you, what  credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them”. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says  we must love our enemies and do good to those who  hate us. It can be very difficult at times to love.

Love is not an option. It is a command. Jesus told  a lawyer that the first commandment in the law is to  love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls and  minds, and the second is to love our neighbour as  ourselves. The Apostle John helps us to understand  why love is so important when he explains, “Dear  friends, let us love one another, for love comes from  God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and  knows God. Whoever does not love does not know  God, because God is love”.

Talk is cheap. Many people say they love God and  yet do some of the most unloving things to others.  This is not love. The Apostle John tells us, “If anyone  says, ‘I love God’, yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For  anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has  seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And  he has given us this command: Whoever loves God  must also love his brother”.

John emphasizes that love is not just something  to talk about but something to live out in actions.  “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue  but with actions and in truth.” We cannot claim we  love unless we are doing loving things. To say we love  and then do nothing is meaningless – we are simply  mouthing empty words. We must show our love for  God by performing loving actions to our fellows, by  being patient and kind to them, generously forgiving  and protecting them, seeking their well being.

We concluded our first meditation with these  words and we will do so again. “The task before us is  to put these nine ingredients to work in our everyday  lives. Love is not a thing of enthusiastic emotion; it is  a rich, strong, manly, vigorous expression of the true  brother and sister of Christ. “Beloved, let us love one  another: for love is of God.”