“May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.” I Thess 3:12
February is the month of love. Valentine’s Day is the hallmark of the month in some ways.
Who among us doesn’t remember getting all those little valentines when we were children in school? In the old days (boy, do I feel old every time I use that phrase) boys and girls exchanged valentines with classmates. I always hoped some special cute little girl would give me a special valentine. We all hunger to be loved.
I remember having a little brown bag to hold my valentines in, usually the same one I took my valentines to give out in as well. I always counted my valentines very carefully (while trying to be cool and not let anyone know I cared). I counted not only how many valentines I got but whether particular girls gave me one or not. We paid a lot of attention to not only how many but how big or how special some of them were. Because my mother was a loving and wise mother she always taught me to give a card for every person in class, so no one would have their feelings hurt. Do you also remember the cute little candies that had special words written on them like “I love you” or “Crazy about you”? Those were the days…love was simple and plain, it didn’t require much, and it didn’t mean much and was generically for everyone. Loving everyone at no cost or with no special sense of what love meant was relatively meaningless but fun.
God wants us to be filled with love for Him and for one another and even for ourselves but in deep and spiritual ways. We can’t love God if we don’t love our fellow man. But our love can’t be “generic”. To say we love everyone but not put specific meaning to it is to make a meaningless statement. To say we love everyone but not be able to love the people we live within our daily lives doesn’t work. Nor can our love be “simple and plain”. Love is messy and complex, anything but simple and plain. We have love people for they are, not who we want them to be. We have to love people when they aren’t always loveable. We have to learn and learn and learn to love. It comes neither easily nor without cost.
The Bible admonishes us to love each other and to make our love overflow even as God’s love for us overflows. Love one another and do it in deeper and more significant ways than trading little valentines and heart shaped candies that have generic messages on them. Love as Jesus loved. I hope to see you in church where we can all learn to be more loving in our daily lives.