Love Vaunteth Not Itself

Cecil Willis

In his great and comprehensive description of love, the apostle Paul states, "love vaunteth not itself" (1 Cor. 13:4). Yet some of the reports of some brethren sound a little like they are "tooting their own horn." The reports of their evangelistic successes are so embellished that they are reminiscent of an observation I heard a preacher make about 25 years ago. This preacher said that some are seeking such impressive statistics to report in the religious journals "if someone gets up to close a door at the meeting house, they count him as a response.

In filing away some old periodicals a day or two ago, I came across this report in the January 20, 1972 Gospel Advocate: " Milan, Tenn., December 27: 1 preached a great sermon here at Front Street and baptized one, and on the last Sunday night in 1971 I preached a powerful sermon and baptized the local barber, one of the citizens in the community.... I have been on the firing line nearly twenty-five years."

This brother's report reminds me of some jester's comment: "If you don't believe I am humble, just ask me." Another wag observed. "Last year my worst fault was that I was too proud and arrogant, but this year I don't have any faults at all." Several years ago, an admirer asked a certain preacher (who now preaches in Barbados), "To what do you attribute your great success as a preacher?" He replied, "I attribute my great success to my exceeding, great humility! "

On the other hand, the truly great apostle Paul said that he was "less than the least of all saints" (Eph. 3:8), and that he was "the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle . . ." (1 Cor. 15:9). A little more modesty or humility probably would be in order on the part of us all.

June 7, 1973