Happy Valentine's Day?
February 16, 2021
Here are the stats:
- Approximately 145 million Valentine's Day cards are exchanged industry-wide (not including packaged kids' valentines for classroom exchanges), making Valentine's Day the second-largest holiday for giving greetings cards.
- 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolates are sold each year. That's 58 million pounds of chocolate!
- Valentine’s Day is apparently worth $18.6 billion (yep—that’s a B). People will spend $1.6 billion on candy, $1.9 billion on flowers, and $4.4 billion on diamonds, gold, and silver. About 1/5 of all Valentine’s Day shopping is done online.
- The average U.S. consumer is expected to spend $116.21 on Valentine’s Day gifts, meals, and entertainment this year.
We spend an awful lot of money on one day, don’t we? So much money to say we love someone on ONE DAY. But we all know that real love is more than that. What does it really look like to truly love someone?
Jesus would say it is more than simple gifts, no matter how costly, expressed on one day.
Paul, who knew Jesus well, said in 1 Corinthians 13:4-6: “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.” Nothing wrong with cards and gifts if they are in addition to this kind of love, but they surely can’t stand on their own.
Again, Paul directs us as Jesus-followers to “Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does” (1 Corinthians 14:1 MSG). If you “go after” something, that means you make a choice. Love is a choice: You choose to love others like God loves us. It’s a non-negotiable for us if we are His. “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10). Devotion is a lifestyle, not a momentary or sometime action.
It’s for our good. Loving each other in this manner helps our relationships: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). When we have the love Jesus commanded, we don’t make issues and have irritation over every little thing. We are patient, able and willing to work with others for the mutual best. We don’t “cancel” people when we don’t agree or they disappoint us. It changes the whole tenor and tone of life.
Jesus’ last and vital command that He reduced our following Him to is, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12). This covers it all.
What would happen in the church, and ultimately the world, if we oriented our lives—our marriages, friendships, professional relationships, finances, and time—around this simple but all-encompassing question: What does love require of me? How can I love as Jesus said?
It’s clearly more than a gift and a card. It’s more than one day. It’s the love that changes everyone and everything every day.