My mom instilled herself into us through phrases she repeated often. One phrase I remember most was “People are more important than things.” That was also the name of a song on a children’s album I had. Mom made it a way of life.
That phrase came to mind this week when my high achieving son brought home a report card with some not so high marks in “Personal Growth & Social Development.” Even at just eight years old, my son is a bit of a perfectionist and he expects everyone else to be the same. This attitude can create friction in a classroom team project.
As I was once again talking to him about my phrase “enjoy the process because the process is more important than the end product.” I was led to read 1 Corinthians 13 to him from the New Living Translation.
It was a surprising moment for both of us. He seemed to realize for the first time that the relationship with people is more important than getting things done a certain way. Prior to this, his childlike understanding of the importance of people may have meant it was his responsibility to get the people to do things right for their own good. [laughing here – that last statement may only make sense if you know my son.]
They had a career day at school recently which may have helped when I explained to him that he could be the smartest guy in the world but it would be meaningless if he were not able to get along with people. Reading 1 Corinthians 13 made this clearer to him.
Tina Turner asks a good question: “who needs a heart when a heart can get broken?” In this high achieving, feel good, success driven cultural, we attempt to ignore that we do have a heart and so do others.
It’s easy to get caught up in the thrill of the physical and the logical steps to success. We ignore our heart thinking it is for our protection to do so. In reality, the physical and whatever “success” is achieved feels very meaningless without love.
Whether it’s in an elementary school classroom, at work, or in ministry;
If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth but didn't love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I knew all the mysteries of the future and knew everything about everything, but didn't love others, what good would I be? And if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, without love I would be no good to anybody. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would be of no value whatsoever.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3