For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. ~John 3:16 (NIV)
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ~ Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV)
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Traditionally, it has been a day for celebrating romantic love—a day for hearts and flowers and chocolate candy. Sometimes it’s a day when friends and family honor the special bond they share, by giving each other silly or sentimental cards, and candy hearts printed with expressions of affection. When I find the time to do so, I like to make valentines cards for friends, family, and co-workers.
What if Valentine’s Day could be so much more than that? What if it was a day when we shared a bigger and better kind of love? What if it was a day when we acknowledged the kind of love God has for each of us—a love so strong that He gave us the ultimate “valentine’s gift” by sacrificing His only Son for our redemption? What if we shared that love with others by becoming God’s “valentines” in the world?
Throughout history, God’s sacrificial love has been lived out by people who truly understand that kind of love, and have chosen to live as God’s “valentines” to their fellow man. Some of these people were strong; some were not. Some were out-going; some were not. Some of these people had many skills; some had only a few. But each of them was willing to reach out to share the love of God with others, using whatever gifts they had.
What kinds of things can we do to become “valentines” from God to our neighbors? This year, consider trying one of these ideas:
- Write a letter, or send a card, to someone who is lonely or hurting.
- Volunteer at your church or a community organization.
- Make a monetary donation to your church or a favorite charity.
- Help an elderly neighbor with a difficult task.
- Buy a meal for someone in need, or donate a coat or blanket to a homeless shelter.
- Perform a random act of kindness for someone outside your usual sphere of influence.
Valentine’s Day, a day for celebrating love, can be a day when we show others what real love looks like. It can be a day we step outside of ourselves and our comfort zones, to reach out to someone who really needs to know that kind of love. It can be the day we say “Yes, I want to be one of God’s ‘valentines’.”
One of the best things about becoming one of God’s “valentines” is that we can be deliverers of His love every day of the year, not just on February 14. If we would all reach out in love to at least one other person or caring organization, and if we would do so more than once a year, imagine how many “valentines” from God could be delivered around the world. What a difference we could make.
Happy Valentine’s Day!