The only thing that counts.

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.—Galatians 5:6

Marilynne Robinson writes, “To be useful was the best thing the old men ever hoped for themselves, and to be aimless was their worst fear.”

It is an unusually cold February day here in Oklahoma. It is the 16th, my wedding anniversary. Today my wife and I reflect on three decades of marriage. I’m grateful for my life and wife. While I recognize that no marriage is perfect, and our life together has had its fair share of ups and downs, it remains, and that has to speak for something good. Perhaps, at the least, it serves as a useful example for others to persevere though difficulties, and at the most, it is a joyful expression of what marriage was intended to be, a beautiful reflection of Christ and His love for the church.

The Apostle Paul rightly suggest that the “only thing that counts is faith” but not faith randomly expressed through dogma, piety, or fundamentalistic prudishness, but “through love.” We have received this idea from culture that love is some sort of sentimental expression of romance, but it is so much more rough, raw, and real, than mere romanticism suggest. It is difficult, dangerous, sometimes lonely in its stubbornness. Love that is lasting is most always practical or useful in its everyday expression, and though at times it may be distracted, it is never without aim. It is going somewhere.

May all of our relationships be so lucky as to be welcomed by longevity and rewarded with perseverance.

Love (III) by George Herbert

Love bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew back 
                              Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack 
                             From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
                             If I lacked any thing.

A guest, I answered, worthy to be here:
                             Love said, You shall be he.
I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear,
                             I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
                             Who made the eyes but I?

Truth Lord, but I have marred them: let my shame
                             Go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?
                             My dear, then I will serve.
You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat:
                             So I did sit and eat.

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