Valentine’s Day happens this week and love may be on our minds. New love, enduring love, lost love, family love, love for a friend, even love for a pet. Our memory verse this week is 1 Corinthians 13:13. “And now these three remain: faith, hope, love. But the greatest of these is love.” This verse is well-timed for this week and also a good follow up for last week’s verse that reminded us our greatest commandment is to love God and also love our neighbor.
This week’s verse reminds me of how important the concept of love is to God. Even bigger than our faith. Even bigger than our hope. The verses preceding this one discuss how everything else we do in this life is nothing unless done with love. I’m reminded of how we discuss sacrificial love at the LOG weekend. In the same way that Jesus gave up his life on the cross out of love for us, we are called to live sacrificially for our family, our friends, even our enemies; all those that are considered our neighbor.
Love for me is tied inseparably to service and in this I find how truly powerful love can be. Truly greater than my faith or my hope. When I love someone - my mom, my husband, my friend, my little dog, I find it so easy to go out of my way to do things for them. I yearn to make their lives easier by helping out, by getting them their favorite snack as a surprise, or joyfully helping around the house. I feel so good about the joy on their faces from the work that I’ve done.
There are also people that aren’t as easy to love. This could be someone at work or school that makes your life difficult, people who bully you, or people who seem to bring negativity with them everywhere. In these situations, while it is so hard, I try to keep in mind that they too matter to God and were made in His image. I try to remember that I am called to love my neighbor. What does it look like to love someone you don’t want to love? For me, when I can’t start with love, I start with service instead. I draw on my love for God and my knowledge that he loves that person who is difficult for me to love. When I do something nice for them, something that makes their life easier, I find that I have invested a little of myself into their lives. Once I’ve done that, I start to care a little more how they are feeling. Maybe I start to understand where their struggle, anger, or negativity comes from. Even if I get no thanks or appreciation, I know that I’ve chosen to treat them well and show them a little of the love that Jesus calls us to.
Whether I am starting with love and from that love I want to serve or whether I start by serving and in doing so come to love someone a little better, I realize how great and powerful love is in our lives and in the lives of others as well. This Valentine’s Day, serve someone you love but also consider loving someone you wouldn’t normally think of by serving them well.