Well, Valentine’s Day has come and gone. Am I writing those words a week too late for you, guys? Should I have warned you last week? Are you deep in the dog house? Or did you come through with flying colors?
A few years back, I gave my wife a necklace for Valentine’s Day. It happened to be on Sunday that year, so she wore the necklace to church that morning. Of course, she showed it off to all of the ladies. I got any number of compliments that morning.
But I also received my share of disparaging remarks. One came more than once: “You sure have messed it up for the rest of us, preacher!” was the lament of more than one of my peers. The guys who forgot — or neglected — Valentine’s Day were upset with me. I “made them look bad.”
The fact is that I have not always come through with flying colors on Valentine’s Day, either.
There have been years when the budget would not allow for much of a gift. There have been other years when the day has slipped up on me. And there have been those years when my wife has indicated that what she really wanted was a nice night out together instead of a gift.
I know some complain that Valentine’s Day is nothing more than a commercialized event requiring that we spend more money immediately after we have finished paying the Christmas bills. It’s even worse for me. Our anniversary is in December, and my wife’s birthday is in January. That’s a lot of gifts jammed into a period of less than two months.
But I have discovered something that is true for my wife, and I think it’s true for most. The amount of money spent is not the issue. What matters is that we remember. What matters is that we express love. That should be the point of Valentine’s Day.
In fact, it should be what matters most for us as believers. Jesus said that the most important commandments were to love God and to love each other.
Love really is what makes the world go around. But it’s not the kind of sentimentality that some confuse with love. Love is more than an emotion. It is a decision. It is a commitment. Love is committed no matter the circumstances. Love does not give up easily. Love sticks with it through thick and thin.
Our greatest example in love is the Lord Jesus Christ. His love for us is unconditional. It does not depend on our behavior. It never fails. When I rest in God’s love, it makes it easier for me to love others. When I know I am loved, I can better love.
Know beyond question that you are loved today. And then practice that love toward others — especially those closest to you. You’ll be glad you did.