Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Post Valentines

“…walk in love…” –Eph. 5:2

Valentines Day 2011 was awesome. Most men bought beautiful roses for their wives, gave away boxes of candy to their sweethearts, purchased tons of chocolate (which I love), had special meals out at their favorite restaurants and gave cards to express their love for each other. I know Jeanie and I had a special weekend. Bottom line: it’s a great day to express love. It’s also a great day to be an example of love to our kids.

What about the day after Valentines Day? Roses begin to wilt, chocolate is already half price at most stores, and dinner out tonight is at McDonalds. Granted, every day can't be a party, but what happens to the romance when the day designated for romance is 364 days away?

We’ve all heard the story about the wife who told her husband, “You never tell me you love me anymore.” The husband replied, “Hey, I told you I loved you the day we married and if that ever changes I’ll let you know.” Too often marriage is equivalent to buying a battery at Wal Mart. We prefer the “maintenance-free” version and really only engage if there’s a problem.

I’m not suggesting you go out and hug your battery, but I am reminding us all that the gifts God provides us in the form of our spouses, children and friends, are precious, valuable and fragile. I know not everyone had a sweetheart to woo on Valentines Day, but we all have those we love and are dear to us. We all need to realize that the choice to love is an everyday decision.

Most of us men figure if we schedule a big vacation once a year, then we’ve spent adequate time with out families. What we fail to realize is that a few scoops of ice cream every night is better than a gallon at the end of the week. All of us need to be reminded that the most precious gift we can give those we love isn't candy or bracelets, but our time- pure, uninterrupted, focused time.

So, how about for the next 364 days, until Valentine’s Day 2012, we keep practicing what we preached on Valentines Day. Roses, gifts and chocolates are easily replaced with serving, listening and praying together. Those gifts are free, but they really cost us quite a bit. They require us to die to ourselves and regard the ones we love as more important than ourselves. We have to pay the price through self-denial. And our kids will tend to notice and model what they see in us.

But like many gifts given, we wind up being the true benefactors of the gift. When God chose to send His Son to die for us so that we could enjoy fellowship with Him, we became the benefactors of His grace. Nearly every scripture about loving others mentions that fact. If we need an example of true agape love, we needn’t look any farther than Jesus.

So, keep eating those stale chocolates and sift through the wilting roses and remember that Valentines Day is every day we show love to those we hold dear.

By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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