All You Need is Love
I’m not going to give you the usual Valentine’s Day sermon; we are all aware that we don’t need a significant other to complete us when we have Jesus in our lives. What we do need, though, is a reminder of what Valentine’s Day is all about: love.
Don’t worry. I know what you’re thinking. And the answer is no, I don’t think you’re an idiot, and, yes, I am fully aware of the little pink hearts splattered over everything from Starbucks cups to Hulu advertisements. I think it’s fair to assume that more than half of the King’s student body thinks Valentine’s Day is a marketing scam, but I’m asking you to look beyond heart-shaped chocolate boxes and to what February 14th is about– or rather, what it is supposed to be about.
Valentine’s Day celebrates love as a feeling. What if we celebrate love as an action instead? In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul writes of a love that is patient, kind, humble, selfless and gracious. These virtues, as lovely as they are, are far from innate. But by God’s grace, we can be gracious. We can be patient, selfless, humble and kind. We can be loving.
God fills us up so He can pour us out, and I can think of no greater time for an outpouring of God’s love than in the middle of the abysmal month of February. Christmastime relaxation with family has dissolved into a distant memory; school and work are wearing people thin, as is the schizophrenic weather and the heavy grey sky. The world is deficient of warmth, light and love.
What would this Valentine’s Day look like if we all poured out more love than we expected to receive? What if we smiled at the people on 34th Street instead of defaulting to New Yorker mode, pretending they don’t exist? What if we ask the Walgreens cashier how she is doing, and we care about her response? With God, we can replenish the warmth, light and love deficient in February.
Now for a more important question: what would it look like if we made this kind of selfless and purposeful Valentine’s Day happen every day? Jesus commands us to love God and love our neighbor, but He never said it would be easy. When you need to be refilled, turn to your fellow believers, and turn to God.
As important as the other 364 days in the year are, I don't want to detract from the possibilities Valentine's Day holds for us. So I give you a challenge for this Tuesday the 14th: in love, buy a heart-shaped box of chocolate and bless someone with it. God even works marketing scams for His glory.
“You were dead in [your] trespasses and sins... But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.” Eph. 2: 1, 4-5
Anna Wilhelm is a guest writer for the Empire State Tribune.