The month of February has arrived! The new year is well on it’s way, and for some that means their new years resolutions are either thriving, or have been simply forgotten. It is a month where people are thrilled to realize that winter is almost halfway done, while others are sad because it means winter is halfway done. But for many, February is the month of love.
This Valentines Day, Americans are predicted to spend $20 billion dollars on flowers, cards, dinner, and other various gifts. In addition, for men who choose not to celebrate this holiday with a gift, 50% of those women say they would end the relationship because they do not feel loved by their significant other. How does this our consumer culture effect the definition of what it TRULY means to love someone?
To begin, I should tell you that I am no expert in defining true love as I too am challenged daily with this. In Timothy J. Keller’s book, The Meaning of Marriage, one way he defines the phrase, “To love,” is to know and be known. Meaning, when we choose to love those around us, we are accepting who they are at their best and their worst. And in return, we allow them to know who we are at our best and our worst. Keller writes it in this way,
“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”
Why bring up the topic of love?
This January, Young Life began at Glen Lake High School. Young Life is a Christian outreach ministry that begins with adults who are concerned enough about kids to meet they right where they are at. Each day myself and three other volunteer leaders have said, “yes” to this call. This call provides us with the unique opportunity, to step into the lives of kids, and hear about their stories of joy, triumph, setback, and heartache. We believe that when you walk alongside a kid, it can dramatically influence their life as we share the love of God with them. The love that says, “It does not matter who you are or what you have done, because just like the Father loves us unconditionally, I too am choosing to love YOU unconditionally.” And when that love is shared, kids begin to see their great worth, meaning and purpose. Young Life is a stepping-stone of a life long journey; the choices kids make today, based on God’s true love will have an impact on their life in the future. This all ripples from when an adult chooses to take the time to truly know and love them, just as the Father loves us.
I challenge you this month to think about what it means to love. How can the way we choose to love, affect those in our lives? This month, youth group will be doing a “Love Your Youth” campaign. Part of the campaign will help fund our youth mission trip this summer, and students attending Young Life camp. The second part will list opportunities that you may serve the youth in the renovation of the church basement. Those opportunities include painting, wood project building, organizing, and clean-up. This project is to create a purposeful space for our youth and kids ministries to grow in community and in their faith. If you would like to know more about this project contact Abby Deters (firstname.lastname@example.org).
“God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love-not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10 (NLT)
Grace & Peace,