So, it’s Valentine’s Day, today. How does that grab you? Are you excited? Did you remember? I heard a deal on a Christian radio station last weekend that tried to track down the original intent of this special day. My conclusion? There is no definitive purpose to go back to. That’s no matter. Suffice it to say that today is a day set aside to express our love to special people in our lives.
Oh, I know, there are all sorts of people with all sorts of opinions on this day. Let’s see if we can identify some of these:
The Forgetful One: This person almost always forgets it’s Valentine’s Day, or any other special day, for that matter.
The Boycott Hallmark Person: This person says, “Phooey,” because Hallmark has commercialized this day with ridiculously-priced cards. I suppose the same is true for expensive flowers.
The Lonely Soul: How many of these are out there? People with no one special in their lives to share this day with.
The Could Care Less Person: This one receives but doesn’t appreciate – or reciprocate – in the same degree the gift was given.
The Spurned Giver: This one doesn’t feel appreciated for the gifts they give.
The Hopeful Spouse: This is one who longs to have their special person treat them special.
The “Every Day Should Be Special” Person: This person feels one day doesn’t make up for 364 days of neglect.
We can have some good laughs with all this. We can also have lots of tears. The fact remains, my friends, that we all could do a much better job at expressing our love for one another, especially between and among believers. John penned it well, worthy of a lengthy quote here:
1 John 7-21 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has even seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
My personal favorite in this passage is, “We love because he first loved us.” We know nothing of love apart from what Jesus has poured into our lives. We are, therefore, obligated to give it out as freely as he gives to us. If we can’t give because we have not received, well, then that’s our problem and something that needs serious attention. Like as in immediate, serious attention.
Paul also wrote of these things. Again, it’s worthy of our time, especially today, to reflect.
1 Corinthians 13:1-13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all knowledge, and if I have faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong-doing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimply, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
I’m sorry, but I don’t see any wiggle room in either John or Paul’s writings to hold back anything in demonstrating our love for one another, especially that between husband and wife. So, there is no excuse for us to embrace any of the personalities we introduced this study with. We must be done with childish ways. It doesn’t matter if we receive in proportion to the way we give. Jesus loved us first. He died while we were still wretched sinners. Even after our born-again experience, do we really think we are even capable of returning his love in equal measure? Of course not. And, furthermore, are we not to forgive those who transgress against us? Wouldn’t this apply to those who seemingly are ungrateful of the love we pour out? Hmmm?
Is not this whole business more about giving than receiving? We have all we need in Jesus, so we really don’t need any more. However, we are within a body of Christ, so we should be receiving love. Are we accepting it? Maybe it doesn’t look like we think it should, so do we reject it?
Folks, we all could do a better job at this, so why not make a change today? It’s a good thing that we have a special day because it should rattle us into life. We celebrate Christ’s birth on one special day, right? No different here.
Finally, it’s not about cards, flowers, and candy, although all of these may very well be appropriate. It’s not about money, although money certainly could be spent. Let’s put it this way, today is not the day to be stingy. In fact, if you have the money and are stingy, today is a good day to lavish it on your spouse. If money is a problem, then don’t spend any money. I’ll bet that what your spouse really wants can be given without spending a dime. That goes for the rich and the poor. Don’t know what that might be? Then spend today figuring it out. Here’s a hint: you may need to ask.
Oh, and for those without a spouse….you are not limited to expressing love to just a marriage partner. How many people do you think are out there who could use a good, old-fashioned Valentine’s Day shot of love? Plenty.
So, spread it around today, folks. With the right perspective, God’s perspective, I’ll bet today could be a day you’ll never forget! And, I’ll bet you will start something that will spill over to the other 364 days of the year.
Make today special!
Father, pour out your love on all who read this today. Overwhelm them with your generous, limitless love. Let it burst forth from us so that we simply cannot contain it and must share it freely with others. Make today a day that they won’t soon forget!
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers