I was buying a gift for my wife, and I knew she wanted a certain thing that was hard to find, so I went from store to store and scoured every place until I found it. I sought it out for her – it was a gift of love.
Have you ever wanted something so badly that you went to great pains to get it? Well, that can be a good thing if done in the right way; but if that becomes an overriding compulsion so that you take advantage of other people and run over them in the process, well then, that’s not so good.
In 1 Corinthians 13, when God describes the characteristics of love, He says in verse 5 – “Love does not seek its own.” In the midst of a lot of negatives that describe what love is not, here is a phrase about self-seeking.
Actually, the Greek word zētei here means “to search, to investigate.” It means that you try to obtain something by striving for it. Now along with this word are two other qualifying words. Literally, the phrase says, “does not seek the things of itself.” In other words, a loving person does not put his or her own interests before the interests of others. It is not selfish in the pursuit of things.
John was a businessman climbing the ladder of success. So he was real nice and helpful to people around him – at least to those who could help him advance his position in the company. But as soon as he got his promotion, and didn’t need them anymore, he dropped them (like the proverbial hot potato). Those people had served their purpose in advancing his cause, and now they were no longer profitable to him. So he simply discarded them.
Now God is saying that His kind of love doesn’t do that. Love does not seek the things of itself. Love puts others first and considers their needs. It seeks the benefit of others. So, if you want to love with God’s kind of love, don’t seek your own things. Seek the welfare of others. Now you know the real meaning of the word.
Today – put yourself out for somebody else. It won’t kill you, you know.