The world is not a play-ground; it is a schoolroom. Life is not a holiday, but an education. (Henry Drummond, The Greatest Thing in the World, 1891)
A friend recently reminded me of this quote from Henry Drummond’s sermon on First Corinthians chapter thirteen. I was thinking about this and it reminded me of an experience in my own life that demonstrates this so well.
For thirteen years I had a person in my life that didn’t like me. They were quite unkind to me. And for many of those years I truly disliked them. As a matter fact on one particularly difficult day I told a pastor that I hated this person.
Then the LORD began to teach me about love. After years of being mistreated by this person, He asked me to apologize to them for something. I had to pray a prayer I had become quite familiar with at that time. “I am not willing to do that LORD, but I am willing to be made willing.” So I apologized.
He asked me to give this person gifts. Once again, “I am not willing to do that LORD, but I am willing to be made willing.” So I gave the gifts.
He asked me to do things to bless this person. Things that were quite difficult under the circumstances. “I am not willing to do that LORD, but I am willing to be made willing.” So I blessed this person.
Then one day out of my heart sprung these words, “There is nothing this person can do to make me not love him/her.” Where did that come from? It came out of my mouth before I ever thought it. And I suddenly realized that I loved this person and that I always would whether they loved me in return or not. Whether they treated me right or not. I had changed. I had learned to love unconditionally.
I shared this with a prayer group at church once. Someone asked how long it took. I said, “Thirteen years”. The LORD said, “Excuse Me?” Not a good sign when He says that. He went on to say, “It took you thirteen years to do what I had been telling you to do all along.”
I learned my lesson. Be quick to respond to the instructions of Love Himself. This person went on to become a very good and dear friend. They changed too in response to the unconditional love they were eventually shown as I followed His lead. I had learned to love and I would never forget this lesson I learned in the schoolroom of life.
I am quick to love whether I am treated right or not. And I have learned that love never fails when I act on it and respond the way He would respond.
Here is the full quote from Henry Drummond.
So much for the analysis of Love. Now the business of our lives is to have these things fitted into our characters. That is the supreme work to which we need to address ourselves in this world, to learn to Love. Is life not full of opportunities for learning to Love? Every man and woman every day has a thousand of them. The world is not a play-ground; it is a schoolroom. Life is not a holiday, but an education. And the one eternal lesson for us all is how better we can love. (Henry Drummond, The Greatest Thing in the World, 1891)