Why is it that every February 14, forgetful husbands rush to the store to buy flowers, chocolates, jewelry, stuffed animals, and anatomically incorrect hearts for their wives? Wouldn’t it be easier to just say, “Sorry, I forgot. But you know I still love you”? Their wives won’t care if they skip one Valentine’s Day. Right?
Absolutely, positively, incontrovertibly wrong! Because, as married couples learn very quickly, love isn’t just an emotion or an abstraction – it’s also something we do. Love is a relationship. And relationships require action.
When we think about love that way, the Bible’s definition of the word starts to make sense: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” (John 10:11).
After reading that verse, buying a box of chocolates doesn’t seem so difficult, does it? When Jesus said the greatest two commandments were to love God and love others, he wasn’t letting us off easy. He was telling us get up and do something!
Of course, we can never do enough to earn our salvation. But that’s a backwards statement. The point is that God saved us so that we can begin to love him.
Every day, we should ask ourselves: how are we being loving? Are we obeying God’s commands? Are we making sacrifices for our friends, and for our enemies? Are we striving to meet the needs of the hungry, the sick, and the destitute? When we meet an orphan on the street, do we say “God loves you” and walk away; or do we show the orphan what love is by inviting him into our home and giving him a meal?
The word “charity” originally meant neighborly love. Here at Cross, we strive to embody that meaning. We want to show the poorest of the poor that we love them in a real and tangible way, and that we love them enough to deliver them from poverty and give them a chance at a better life. We want to embody the famous words of the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 13:13, “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”