The 5th “not” about agape love is that it “does not insist on its own way” (1 Cor. 13:5, ESV). “Insist” is from zeteo, “strive for one’s own interest or advantage; demand, require” (Newman). This kind of love “is not selfish; it does not seek its own happiness exclusively or mainly; it does not seek its own happiness to the injury of others.” (Barnes) This is not to say that you and I will no longer look after our own interests, family, church, or nation. It means that we do ministry selflessly, not demanding our own way.
The words, “our own way” here is only one word in the Greek. It is from eautou, which is a pronoun in the third person, genitive case—himself, herself, itself, or oneself. Yet since there is the article, ta (the), it thus identifies one’s own interest. Thus, this kind of love does not demand “one’s own interest or advantage” (Newman).
I remember the late Rev. Andres Pepito, my father-in-law. When he served as church planter and pastor many years ago, a big Baptist church in the USA supported him. Yet he did not receive every dollar that they sent. Perhaps due to policy or a misunderstanding, the Philippine mission withheld it all, giving him only his monthly allowance, but no more. To many, this was injustice. Pastor Pepito had every right to receive all the support, they said. One missionary’s son even offered to help him recover the funds. But he said, “No, it’s okay.” He said if he did, he might cause division in the denomination. His own interests or advantage is not his priority in ministry.
Love is selfless.
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