Solve for X—Doing Long Division

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a; 13 (NIV)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

How exactly do you solve for X? By doing long division? Mathematically speaking in order to solve for X when the equation includes an exponent, you must start by isolating the term with the exponent. Then, isolate the variable with the exponent by dividing both sides by the coefficient of the X term to get your answer. If the equation has fractions, start by cross-multiplying the fractions. Got it? Yeah, me neither.

In general, if you have an equation that has just one variable, such as X, then “solving the equation” means that you first must find the set of all values that can be substituted for the one variable to produce a valid equation. Easier? Yeah, well.

Here’s what I think. If X represents love, then you must do the long division to get there. You must start by walking toward that someone you’re attracted to and then decide if you can still love that person warts and all. That’s kinda what mothers feel for their kids. They love them warts and all.

Love is complicated. Just like doing the kind of math that requires you to solve for X. It’s like long division. With mothers, however, we don’t need to do the long division to know we love our children. Romantic relationships work differently. They pivot on time. And although love at first sight, is quite romantic, in most cases it doesn’t stand the test of time.

Anna Jarvis or Anna Marie Jarvis was born May 1, 1864, in Webster, Taylor County, West Virginia and died November 24, 1948, in West Chester, Pennsylvania at the age of 84. Anna is known to be the founder of the Mother’s Day holiday in the United States. On May 10, 1908, three years after her mother’s death, Anna put together a memorial ceremony to honor her mother and all mothers at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church, known today as the International Mother’s Day Shrine, in Grafton, West Virginia. This marked the first official observance of Mother’s Day. The International Mother’s Day Shrine has been a designated National Historic Landmark since October 5, 1992.

Although Anna did not attend the service at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church, she sent a telegram that described the significance of the day as well as five hundred white carnations for all who attended the service.

Anna spoke that particular day in Philadelphia at the Wanamaker’s Store Auditorium. It was a powerful speech. Anna described the white carnation as a symbol of truth and purity due to its brilliance. She felt it represented the broad charity of a mother’s love, her prayers, and her memory. Not to mention its fragrance. She noted that carnations don’t drop their petals. They hang over as they die hugging themselves to their heart. This is much like mothers. They too hug their children to their heart, showing that their love never dies.

Mother’s Day is a beautiful day to honor our mothers. It can be a day of warm memories and also heartache. When our mothers pass it’s as if someone unplugged the power to the house. Those mothers who have lost a child, Mother’s Day is a most painful day.

What about bad moms. We must acknowledge the pain associated with those types of mothers. My heart goes out to those who suffered under the hand of a bad mom. It’s a pain and a scar only God can heal.

Forever the optimist, I find it comforting to honor the good moms. Pouring over oneself a bucket full of good and cherished memories. Those funny moments have the ability to make us laugh out loud. It so fun to reflect on what weddings can do to moms. They tend to fall apart. Let’s face it. They are giving up all control of their kid. Some moms are steel magnolias. Sturdy and strong. Those mothers who hold the family together during difficult times.

The meaning of and the context behind the passages in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a;13. This book is also known as “the hymn of love.” Paul is writing to a divided church. He’s hoping this letter will serve as a message to the Corinthians to stop their competition with one another. He tells them that they need to love one another. Not only that, he challenges them to love everyone. And why not? We’re all children of God, aren’t we?

Love calls us to something greater than ourselves. There’s a book by C.S. Lewis entitled The Four Loves. In this book, Lewis looks at love from a Christian and a philosophical perspective. The four types of love Lewis writes about are:

  1. Storge – empathy bond (people who are familiar-family, or people who you relate to in a familiar way)
  2. Philia – friend bond (love between friends who are as close to you as siblings and who have been in your life for years)
  3. Eros – romantic love (being in love or loving someone as opposed to just being lustful over someone)
  4. Agape – unconditional God love (the kind of love no human can experience-a love that exists regardless of the changing circumstances-a totally selfless love)

Paul writes, “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.” In this passage, Paul reminds us we can have it all but without love it’s nothing. And love is not nothing. Love keeps no ledger of wrongs. Put your name in the place of “love” in this exercise: Love is (your name).

If we close our minds to people, we will never be able to relate to them. We can’t make God like us; we must work to want to be more like Him. Transformation takes place when we open our hearts to God and give up those childish things.

As we celebrate Mother’s Day in this month of May, 2019 let’s remember Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. Make some memories with your mother if she is still with you. Remember the past Mother’s Days if she is not. Celebrate with your children and let them know you love them to the pieces as my granddaughter, Haylie, says.

My Three Girls

The times I spent on Mother’s Day with my three girls are forever etched in my memory. When looking back I reflect on the good stuff. I smile and wonder how time slipped by so quickly.

The times I spent with my mother.

The times I spent with my mother. As a little girl and as a woman. From the time I was five till Mother’s Day 2014. Not realizing that would be our last Mother’s Day together. I believe God protects us from the not knowing so we can enjoy the moment.

Watching my youngest daughter and my oldest daughter as mothers themselves. Knowing what wonderful women, they are and what wonderful human beings they are raising.


Mothers, we were born to love like this: Faith, hope, and love will remain.

Happy Mother’s Day!

And that’s what I learned in Church……see ya next time!


Regina Stone Matthews was born in Columbia, South Carolina. She attended Therrell High School in Atlanta, Georgia and West Georgia College in Carrollton, Georgia. Currently, Regina resides in Richardson, Texas with her husband, David. She has three daughters and four grandchildren. She is the author of the children's chapter books "Elizabeth Marie Hutchinson-When I Dream;" "Dealing with Margaret: Elizabeth Marie Hutchinson-When I Dream" and the double award-winning book "I'm a Detective! Elizabeth Marie Hutchinson-When I Dream."