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Three-legged Stool

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV

If you have ever looked at a three-legged stool, you will notice each leg is joined together more closely at the seat, where most of the person's weight will come to bear. The legs then flare outward to provide stability. Without this base, we would topple over while trying to sit astride. Other than being a conversational piece, it would serve no purpose. 

In today's verse, the apostle Paul writes: "And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love." This passage can be compared to a three-legged stool, with each leg representing one of the three virtues:

  • Faith is the foundation of the stool, the unwavering belief in something greater than ourselves. It allows us to stand tall and face challenges with courage.

  • Hope is the leg that reaches toward the future, fueling our optimism and perseverance. It helps us to believe that things will get better and that there is still good in the world.

  • Love is the most substantial and essential leg of the stool. When we sit unevenly on the stool, love is the leg that assumes the extra weight. It binds us together, inspires kindness and compassion, and gives meaning to our lives. 

Just like a three-legged stool cannot stand upright without all three legs, a life without faith, hope, and love is incomplete and unstable.

Also, each leg of the stool supports the overall structure. Similarly, the three virtues are essential for a fulfilling spiritual life.

  • Interdependence: The three virtues are interconnected and interdependent, just like the legs of the stool support each other: faith, hope, and love work together to create a strong foundation for our lives.

  • Balance: We find balance and stability when all three virtues are present equally. However, if one virtue is weak or missing, we can experience challenges and struggles.

  • Durability: A well-constructed three-legged stool can withstand significant weight and pressure. Similarly, when our lives are built on faith, hope, and love, we can overcome difficulties and emerge stronger.

We need help with this construction, though; through the Holy Spirit, God helps us cultivate and nurture faith, hope, and love to build a life of meaning, purpose, and resilience.

Father, grant us the gift of unwavering faith. May our belief in Your divine plan and Your infinite love be the guiding light that illuminates our paths. May we face the storms of life with courage and conviction, knowing that You are always by our side.  Fill our hearts with boundless hope. Let it be the anchor that steadies us during times of doubt and uncertainty. Lord, shower us with the purest and most profound love. May Your love be the driving force in our lives, inspiring us to be kind, compassionate, and understanding towards others. May we love ourselves with the same unwavering devotion that You love us, and may our love for others reflect Your own. We pray this in Your holy name. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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