If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
One of the first posts that I had ever written was entitled “You Must Love Me.” Written as a devotional for the website of the school where I was principal, it was one of the first times I looked more closely at a song and a movie that I personally enjoyed to learn why it had struck a chord with me. The original version is buried somewhere on my hard drive. A revised version can be found in the archives of this site. But today I return to “Evita” to explore the thoughts that currently fill my mind.
After coming to Buenos Aires, Eva Duarte learned a hard lesson. She had conned her way into a relationship with a singer that she felt would propel her to stardom. She was so enamored with her glamorous future that she failed to pay attention to the fact that he was married. Abandoned miles away from home, Eva contemplates her situation in the words of a song (it is a musical after all), “Another Suitcase in Another Hall.” Throughout the song, Eva asks the same question over and over again: So what happens now? The song shows us a vulnerable side of Eva and the beginnings of the process by which that naivety will ultimately disappear.
As the story continues, we see a stark change in Eva. The wide-eyed girl has developed a survivor’s mentality. She became adept at making decisions which advanced her prospects for fame, fortune and power. She realized that moving quickly, taking advantage of the opportunities that lie in front of her without emotional attachments provided her the best chance to not only improve her lot, but to prevent others from taking advantage of her. It wasn’t the kind of life she desired, but she understood that it was necessary to avoid repeating the pain of her past while taking her where she ultimately wanted to be. So every new relationship became a stepping stone on the path to her dreams.
For many, this Machiavellian existence makes sense. The world tells us to take the bull by the horns and make the most of the opportunities that are presented to us. But the end will never justify the means. For Eva, her lifestyle would eventually catch up to her. Lying on her deathbed, the woman who had made her own opportunities by controlling every angle found herself helpless, weak, and desiring the one thing she denied herself for years: the joy that comes from being loved. The aspirations that fueled a lifetime of carefully calculated decisions suddenly meant nothing because material things simply have no value when compared to love.
1 Corinthians 13 is a common Scripture used often during wedding services. But in the memories of most, the words begin at verse four with, “Love is patient. Love is kind…” By overlooking verses 1-3, we can easily lose sight of the most important aspect – the value and importance of love in our lives. As we move through life we find ourselves seeking any number of things – money, fame, power, achievements, comfort and the like. But without love those treasures will lose their luster. Seek love and know the fullness of the life God has given you. Ignore it and you’ll find yourself asking the same question that plagued Eva…
So what happens now?