Have you ever noticed how one holiday barely ends before merchandise for the next appears on store shelves? A reliable source told me that Valentine’s Day candy was already available in at least one store a week before Christmas last year!
It is unclear which Valentine is the namesake of the holiday—history mentions three men of that name associated with the early church. The most likely candidate is a priest who, after defying the emperor Claudius around 270 AD, was imprisoned and executed. I wonder what he would think about all the chocolate consumed in his honor?
Like most of us, he would probably have enjoyed it very much. But as a Christian, he knew that true sustenance comes from Jesus Christ, and that there is no greater love than the love God has for us. When that message becomes clear, it literally changes lives.
Though he was brought up in the church, a speaker of the Maan language in Liberia struggled with his Christian identity. During one of the darkest periods of his life, he was inspired when he learned that Scripture was being translated into his language. “God made it clear to me that I do not have to earn my salvation or His love. He has given me fulfillment and purpose and joy. I am not perfect, and I still make mistakes, but God loves me despite my flaws and imperfections. And while the things I was pursuing before continually let me down, God has never once left me.”
There are a variety of ways to express love. Cards, tokens of appreciation or affection, just reaching out to say hello. But sharing God’s love through His Word—well, it’s hard to surpass that as an act of our own love and compassion towards those we know and those we will never meet in person.