SARGODHA, PAKISTAN -- Valentine's Day is widely celebrated across the globe to commemorate the tale of the two lovers who fell in love with each other and died yet left their imperishable impression on this loveless world. February 14, every year, is greeted with red roses and cards. Mosty everyone is cheered up.
Valentine cards are swapped between lovers as a gesture of their love. Parties are arranged and youth flock to Valentine's Dance parties. Passion runs high on this day of the year.
Why is the world so crazy about Valentine's Day? One of my friends asked me lately if I celebrate Valentine's Day. I replied, "Yes, every day of mine is a Valentine's Day."
I do not celebrate it on one day only to not remember my love for those around me the rest of the year. What is the true love that has to be remembered and revered by all of us? Jesus said: "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends" (John 15:13).
This is the truest, purest and greatest form of love. Does the world remember it like it does Valentine's Day? I regret to say it does not. Do we ever dance for Jesus, who bled for us that blessed day on the cross to pay for my sins, the entire world's sins? Do we ever take roses to those lying sick in hospitals and nursing homes to give them hope to live on? Do we ever send cards to tender our apologies to those we may have hurt by our vicious attitudes? Have we contemplated making things right with those whom we are not even on speaking terms? Do we return sweet words when confronted with provocative speech? If the answer to the questions posed above is in the affirmative, might I ask why we celebrate Valentine's Day?
I would prefer sorting out my differences with my neighbor and getting my attitude right rather than buying the bouquet of roses for my beloved on Valentine's Day. Why is the world is placing a greater premium on Valentine's Day rather than following the One who loved the world so dearly that He stretched out His hands on the cross and died? Love came into this world but men loved darkness instead of Light because their deeds were evil. I have personally met people on the streets of London who flatly refused the Gospel and cursed the name of Jesus. Ironically enough, these same individuals enthusiastically participate in Valentine celebrations. It hurts me immensely when I see them opting for observance of a "Love Tradition" instead of embracing the True Love.
Love that gets you eternal love.
The "love" of today makes demands on us; be that a love for a beloved, love for our family, or love for our country. Each kind of love makes demands on the lovers. However, the Love God has for us makes no demands on us. It rather graces us with a gift, which is not sold in the biggest shopping malls of the world. No purse or pocket can pay for it. Eternal life is a gift of God, which comes through Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul in his epistle to the Romans says: "The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).
How about giving the gift of eternal life on this Valentine Day? Let's be different than the world. How about sharing and learning the greatest love of all, a Man who laid down His life for all of us. Love who bled, Love who suffered, Love who died and the Love who rose again to reign forever and evermore.
Would you like to taste His love? After having tasted the Love of Jesus, will you not follow in the footsteps of Greatest Lover of Mankind?
Shahid Shahbaz Khan is a former student of Hampstead Bible College in London, England. A recipient of Best Preacher Prize for 2003-2005 by the college, Shahid is planning to do higher and further studies in religion. He can be reached at email@example.com
Original publication date: February 11, 2008