I read a statistic that said that this Valentine’s Day, more than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold. About $1.7 billion will be spent on candy, $1.1 billion on greeting cards; $2 billion on apparel; and $1.9 billion on flowers. The average consumer will spend about $147.
Frankly, if I had a Valentine who spent $147 on chocolate, cards, apparel, and flowers for me, I’d probably make him return the cards, flowers, and apparel, and then go buy me more chocolate to replace those other things.
No, actually, if he spent $147 on chocolate I’d make him take most of that back too.
Here’s the point that I want to take from this:
I love gifts, chocolate, flowers, cards, clothes, and I wouldn’t discourage anyone from expressing their love in that way.
But what I really would love to see from that person, more than just symbols of their love, is practical, real proof that they love me. Rather than receiving big, bold declarations from him through symbols of love, I’d want to see that love in action.
I would rather he gave up his afternoon to help me with a project than give me a million dollar diamond ring. I’d rather he rolled up his sleeves and did the dishes for me than bestow upon me a dozen red roses. I’d rather he forgave my mistakes unconditionally than treat me to a luxurious five-star dinner. I’d rather he gave me a foot massage himself than send me to a professional massage center.
Why? Because all those things show that he really loves me. Anyone can give chocolate and flowers and cards, and those don’t require love to be the motivating factor because they are just symbols. Not the real thing.
But sacrificing time, convenience, pride, and dignity, all for me? That can only happen when motivated and inspired by true love. That’s what I would want.
Now, to my knowledge I’m not going to have a special someone doing all that for me this Valentine’s Day (although I hope that will be the case sometime in the future), but just because I’m not in that particular life situation doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lesson that I can apply to my own life.
Showing love to people isn’t limited to couples on Valentine’s Day. And if I’d want those things to be done for me, then I should be striving to do the same for everyone else in my life.
Instead of only telling my mom I love her, I can go and clean up that messy kitchen with a cheerful smile on my face. Instead of merely giving Valentine cards to my family members or friends, I can show them that I love them by being forgiving to them, being patient, picking up after them without judging and criticizing, supporting them when they are going through difficult times.
I can do so many things to show my love, and those actions will mean a lot more than simply telling them that I love them or spending lots of money on gifts. Actions and gestures come out of a true feeling of love toward someone. They don’t have to be forced out.
That’s why Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
When we start to know Jesus more, know His love for us, and develop a sense of true love for Him, then we will follow His word and keep His commandments. It’s a natural progression.
And that will be the case for any human relationship. True love will bring true action.
It’s really a matter of investment. What are you investing in? Temporary, material items that won’t last, or the long-lasting building blocks necessary for a permanent and strong relationship?
So, by all means, let’s bring on the flowers and clothes and chocolate (especially the chocolate), but along with those things, let’s let our love speak through actions and sacrifices and simple gestures, those things that will last in a relationship and do more to establish a strong foundation than a million red roses. Roses will fade quickly and be forgotten; chocolate will be eaten and gone faster than you can say “I do”; but the effects of real, genuine actions that come from a loving heart will last forever.
And one more thing…let’s not wait until Valentine’s Day to show our love to people. Pretty sure Jesus didn’t need a holiday to come down to earth and give the ultimate demonstration of love to all of mankind. Now that’s true love.
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