Clearly this is designed to be a selfish seeking and not one where “best interest” of self is involved. Since we are to love others as we love ourselves, some love of self is allowed for. However, Paul’s point would not be focused on that narrow definition. He is more clearly focused on those things that we seek which when we seek them, we do not show or become love. It is a selfishness like the seagulls in the movie “Finding Nemo”
I would suggest three things that love does not seek for itself.
Love does not seek its own desires!
This started early in our history at day two! (Well, maybe Satan waited a week, but I am sure he was busy quickly.) He tempted Eve with desires that she didn’t need to have or need fulfilled. All the other trees were good for food and beautiful, only this one would make her wise. Tempted by her own desires, she gave in and ate.
Solomon warned his son not to go along with those who put their desires ahead of others good. In Chapter one of Proverbs, he warns his son not listen to the enticement of sinners who will lay in ambush for innocent blood just to increase their own profit. These people are setting traps for their own life, in front of their own eyes, and do not realize it. (Prov 1:10-ff)
Micah warned the leaders who lie on their beds and dream up schemes of iniquity and then in the morning fulfill those dreams “because they can” (Micah 2)
Yes, our desires can be a driving force in our lives. I deserve, I need, I want…but Love does not seek its own desire.
Love does not seek its own glory!
We have a saying today “Don’t toot your own horn” and in the context of First Corinthians, this is exactly what Paul would have been saying. Chapter 13 on Love falls between chapter 12 and 14 on the proper use of spiritual gifts. In this congregation, you had Christians using their gifts for their own glory.
However, as you read chapters 12 and 14 you will soon see a repeated theme: In the church, it is God’s glory and others benefit that God wants us to seek. We are in the body to bring glory to God not to our self.
They were using gifts that they had received…as if they had not received them. That is, they owed no one anything, least of all God! (1 cor 4:7)
The pharisees prayed, fasted, and tithed so that they would received the glory of men and God says “that is all they received”
While we may feel the need to bring glory to our self, Jesus advised humility. Let God and others exalt you, not your own hand. (Lk 14:7-11)
Love does not seek its own comfort!
An almost eternal question that Christians wrestle with is “how much do I spend on me and my family?” Is there such a thing as being too rich?
The question itself is worthy of consideration but considering the number of wealthy servants of God in the Bible, I cannot conclude that there is a limit on how rich a Christian can be. What does seem to be a question that we need to ask is “How much do I use, of this money that God gave me, to help others?”
The rich man and Lazarus make this point very well. Lazarus would have gladly eaten of the crumbs from the table. However, the rich man did not give him any. In this life the rich man was comforted, in the next one Lazarus was.
Whether a parable or a true account of someone who lived, the passage teaches us “Do not trust in riches” I would suggest that you pick a percentage of your income that you set aside specifically to help the poor. Choose a percent. Maybe 2, maybe 5 you can always increase it later.
Love does not seek its own desires, glory, or comforts. Only by paying attention to what we do seek, will we be able to better discern if we have begun to seek those things or if we are steering clear.
Question: What else might fit the statement “Love does not seek its own….what?”
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