True Valentine’s Day gift is putting others first

By Debra Whittington

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:34-35 

As Valentine’s Day draws near, the focus is on love. There are many types of love. I love my husband. I love my family and friends. I love my church and its members.  I love my little dog, Gracie. I love pizza. I use the word love but each has a much different meaning to me.

On a recent trip, Mark and talked about our family. We don’t have any children and all of our family lives away from Tucumcari. Most people would think that we are all alone but they would be wrong. We do have family living in Tucumcari because we have our church family. In fact there are several members of our church family that we are closer to us than those in our extended family.

For believers, also known as Christians there is a bond that transcends family ties. As Christ loved the church, so we as Christians are commanded to love one another. I realize that it is easier to love some more than others.

There are many ways that we show our love for each other. As we worship together in church there is a bond of love as we sing together and listen to the Word of God preached. During the greeting time at our church it is difficult for the song leader to restore order because everyone is having such a good time visiting with one another. This is usually associated with handshakes and hugging—lots of hugging.

A couple of months ago when I was sick I was warned by the doctor not to have physical contact with anyone other than my husband. My immune system was so compromised that I was susceptible to any sort of virus that came along. During the greeting time at church I had to stand back and watch everyone else. The feeling of isolation was one that I don’t ever want to repeat. I had to isolate myself out of necessity but it made me think of millions of people who isolate themselves from contact with others. What a sad thought.

Acts of love between believers is illustrated through service to one another. I could write volumes on the ways that believers show their love through service to one another. When there is a need, people of the church are eager to help from providing meals when someone is sick or had surgery to little projects around the house for one of the widows of the church.

As I was praying about what to write in this column, I became one of those people who were in need of help with my car. Mark was out of town at the time so I asked one of the members of the church for help He was unable to help so he called another friend from another church. It was such a blessing to me how we are all a part of the family of God even though we go to different churches.

I thought back to another time when Mark was out of town and I received some bad news. One of the church members came over and sat with me until Mark could get back. Another time after the death of my beloved mother-in-law, our pastor was waiting at our home when we arrived from the hospital to comfort us and pray with us. The list goes on and on.

We may not have our relatives nearby to help, but I can always count on many of the family of God to be there when needed. I also try to be available when someone else has a need. Sometimes it is as simple as a phone call or sending a card to someone who is going through a difficult time.

I recently visited with a friend who agreed with me that it is usually easier to help than ask someone for help. I know of one lady who was always visiting the sick and bringing them a small gift. However, when she was on the receiving end after an illness she had a very hard time accepting other people’s help. I tried to convince her that since she gave all those years of her life in service to others she could still serve others by allowing them to serve her.

If we wonder what real love is all we need to do is read 1 Corinthians 13:3-10. Once we know what real love is it is up to us to put it into practice.