By Pastor Walt Reemtsma
Lone Rock Presbyterian Church
In a few days we will be observing Valentine’s Day, a day in which we are encouraged to share, in word and deed loving thoughts with family and friends. As I write this column my thoughts are taking me back to my days in elementary school. On the night before the Valentine’s party my brother and I went through the ritual of selecting and addressing a valentine for each child in our school. Yes, everyone in my school got a valentine from me because I went to country school through the eighth grade. At the most we had eleven students during any given school year and most of us shared the same family tree.
Looking back, I doubt if most of us took much time to reading them when we got home, but admittedly enjoyed the suckers that sometimes were attached. However, the sharing of valentines did provide us an opportunity to learn how to make lists, check off accomplished tasks and feel a sense of accomplishments as our “to do” lists became shorter and shorter.
As we listen to our daily news programs, we wonder how much love is present in our world today? So frequently all we hear are stories about violence, abuse, hatred for one another. We can’t help but wonder where is the love?
How much love to we have for others? In Mark 12: 28- 31 we see Jesus telling those around him that the two greatest commandments are to love God and then love Neighbor. One of the things that gets in the way of loving others is the fact that we are so prone to judging one another. We find that if those around us do not meet our criteria in regards to an appropriate lifestyle (ours is the only way to live), beliefs, preferences in regard to dress, hair color, hair style or recreational interests, we make the decision to exclude them from our lives and minds and deciding that they are not worthy of our love or attention. So much for the second commandment? What about the first commandment?
God by sending his son, Jesus Christ, to earth has given us an awesome example of unconditional love. Jesus while on this earth also showed unconditional love on many occasions as we study the gospels of the New Testament. We can be recipients of that unconditional love simply by placing our trust in Him and believing in Him. Are we loving to best of our ability?
If we desire to follow Him and be one of his disciples, we need to strive to share this kind of love with those around us. There is no room for judgment if we want to be one of his disciples. We need to love the person not the lifestyle that we see.
So many individuals are desiring a sense of being loved, and when they do not get it from the folks around them, they seek other alternatives, many times finding themselves in trouble with the law. Are you willing to make a difference in a person’s life by sharing God’s love with them? Doing so takes effort, often enormous amounts of time, and dedication. In plain terms it requires WORK.
To share Christ’s love, relationships have to be developed. After relationships have been established it is then that you can begin to share love through Christ with them. Telling people sitting on a park bench that you love them won’t accomplish much. But offering to help a young parent who is struggling to keep tract of her ambitious 4-year-old while dealing with a discontented baby will convey that you are interested in them as a person and for them it might be the best part of their day.
I fear that many of us have no problem loving God but loving our neighbor is a challenge. Aren’t we capable of doing both?