It happens around every holiday, but especially Christmas and Valentine’s Day. “What’s in your wallet?” the woman in the TVcommercial asks, enticing you to sign up for a credit card that will enable you to buy more for your loved ones than what you can really afford.
Gifts are some people’s love language, so showing up empty-handed on a special occasion might truly hurt someone’s feelings. But is buying a diamond ring or two dozen roses really the best way to say, “I love you”?
God knows we all struggle with how to express our love and how to judge the depth of feelings someone else has for us. That’s why He put the answers in His word.
“Love each other as I have loved you,” Jesus said. How did He love? Humbly serving, gently guiding, feeding and healing, sharing in life’s joys and sorrows…and in the end, laying down His life for the sake of those, He called His friends.
Paul exhorted husbands and wives to love one another sacrificially, as Christ loved the church. And in case one didn’t know what that looked like, he took the time to paint a picture of it, “Love is patient and kind, never jealous or envious…never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy, and keeps no record of wrongs.”
Wow! God’s description of love has nothing to do with dramatic gestures of romance, but of the kind of relationship, everyone would love to have. Gifts are a delicious “icing on the cake,” but were never intended to take the place of the main course.
The best present my husband has ever given me is the way in which he shows me he loves me every day of the year. Sure, we may enjoy a special dinner out or a weekend getaway on special occasions, but the truth is, life is messy–and they don’t always work out the way we would like. Sometimes, a card or a simple handwritten “XOXO” note is the best we can do, and that’s okay. Those are the times when we count up all the treasure in our“love bank,” hold each other’s hands and smile in gratitude for what we have in one another.
When you have God’s kind of love in your life–not just in marriage, but in friendships and other relationships as well–what’s in your wallet isn’t important. You have something much more special to give.
“Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong.” – I Corinthians 13:4-5 (TLB)