The Lesson of the Day is Love
My photographer son came to Austin, Texas, for a photo shoot the day before Valentine’s a few years ago. Afterwards we had dinner, and he spent the night.
The following morning, before heading back home to Houston, Trevor hid a Valentine’s card for me inside my closed laptop, knowing it would only be a matter of time before I discovered it. Nothing like finding a handmade card, with a little heart drawn on it, from your grown son. But what was even more special were his sweet words.
Among other things, he thanked me for showing and teaching him how to love. First, I got teary-eyed. Next, my mind began to wonder. What had I done?
Do we intentionally set out to show our children how to be sweet and to love? Especially our rough and tough little boys? We want our children to grow up to be polite and well-mannered, so we teach them when to say “thank you” and “please,” along with “Yes, sir,” and “No, ma’am.” We also try to explain how and why they need to share their toys, play fair, be kind and get along with others.
We teach them how to tie their shoes, ride a bike and to swim. We help them learn to dress themselves and brush their teeth. We want them to know how to read and we work on those skills, but do we actually sit down and tell them that today we are going to learn how to love?
With two boys, our lives revolved around sports. As they became more skilled I sought experts in the field who could fine-tune their athletic abilities. Just as I sought professionals to help with sports, which was beyond my expertise, my Father jumped right in to help in the parenting arena. As I look back on those years, anything I did right in the parenting department was only through the grace of God.
Even when I was so undeserving, God’s love for me was unconditional. Little did I know His capacity to love me, no matter what, would allow me to love my own children when they messed up. Even when they broke my heart, I would stand by their side, as my Father never left mine.
If you are a parent, you can identify with the indescribable affection we have for our children. How did we learn to love them so much? Where did those feelings and our actions come from?
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:9-11, 19 NIV
For God so loved the world—that’s you and me—He gave His Son as a sacrifice. Can you even imagine watching your child hang on that cross? For someone else’s sins?
While I momentarily swelled with pride reading my son’s tender words—thanking me for teaching him how to love—I quickly acknowledged that God was the One who taught me, and my son. His capacity to love all of us so much that He would sacrifice His only Son just blows my parental efforts out of the water.
We will buy (or make) a Valentine’s card for our spouse, family members, friends or that special person in our life. But what will we do for the One who loves us more than any human? For the One who loved us first?
Let’s try telling God just how crazy we are about Him. Can you imagine how ecstatic He will be to receive a handmade card from each of us?