“Someone in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’ Jesus replied, ‘Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?’ Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.’”
– Luke 12:13-15
Well, it’s Valentine’s Day, which has been called “The Day of Love.” For a holiday that’s all about celebrating such an amazing, intangible virtue, it’s interesting that it has become, to many, a day of stuff. A consumerist world has taught us that expressing love is about spending lots of money on gifts, flowers, and expensive meals more than it is simply being present with those we care about. Unfortunately, greed has gained a foothold in our culture, and if we are not careful, our expectation of material things can ruin our celebration. While there’s nothing wrong with having fineries or with giving expensive gifts, it’s vital to understand that these things do not equal abundant life. Ask anyone who possesses great wealth if they have life because of their stuff, and they will invariably tell you no. In fact, the ones who have nothing besides their fortune might answer that they really don’t have much of a life at all. As Jesus said to the young man upset because he wanted half of his brother’s inheritance, “life does not exist in an abundance of possessions.”
My friend, on this day and every day, I encourage you to remember that love and greed cannot coexist. Don’t be so focused on what you get that you lose sight of what you give, because the latter is always more important. Love is a spiritual force that is activated by a series of choices to put other people first, just like Jesus did. He gave everything to make us something, and because of Him, we too can crucify greed and offer ourselves up in love for the sake of others.
Thank you for this day, Jesus, to celebrate the selfless gift of love.
How does your understanding of Biblical love differ from what the world teaches about it?