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Practice love all the time
pastor corner

Only a day until Valentine’s Day. Better place those orders, gentlemen — don’t complain to me that you were not warned.    
Valentine’s Day! I can hear the arguments now. “It’s just another day.” “A Hallmark holiday.” “A made up day for the florists and candy stores.”  
All of that may be true. But let me ask you this: Isn’t it good to have a special time when we can express love to those who are nearest and dearest to us?
There was a time when I basically ignored Feb. 14 altogether. I simply had not been conditioned to make it a special day, and so it went by without a mention. And then one year, I made a small gesture, giving my wife something inexpensive. The look on her face was priceless. What I thought was nothing was very special to her.
Since that time, I try to do something on Valentine’s Day. I don’t spend a fortune, but I want her to know that I still find her special.  
The Bible tells us that the two most important commandments are very simple. Love God. Love each other. And then, there is one time when this is asked: “If you can’t love those that you see, how can you love God, whom you cannot see?”
Now, that is the Brad Butler paraphrase of 1 John 4:20. But it is a good reminder to us that practicing love is an essential aspect of the Christian life.
I have to tell you that I find it hard to love certain people. There are those who are high-maintenance, and those who have difficult personalities. And God tells me, “Love them anyway.” I want to beg off. I want to ask for a second opinion. But then, I remember that there may be (pretty good odds) those who find me hard to love.  
Jesus told his followers, “They will know that you are my disciples by the love you have for one another.” Do you suppose people around you know that you are a follower of Jesus because of your obvious love for others? I pray that we will learn better how to love, how to show that love, and how receive love from God and each other.  
The greatest news in the Bible is this simple message. God is love. Because of that, we live and love.
Happy Valentine’s Day.

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