Summary: God has sent us a Valentine—His Word! Then He sent us His Son who is love personified---a “living” valentine. I Corinthians 13 reminds us of the importance of being filled with God’s love.
VALENTINE’S DAY! NO ONE KNOWS FOR SURE WHERE OR HOW IT ORIGINATED, but we do know who is responsible for keeping it before the public’s eyes---the greeting card, candy, and floral companies.
St. Valentine is the designation for several saints. The most prominent are 2 martyrs whose feats are celebrated on February 14. One was a priest and the other a bishop. We don’t know much about them, but we do know that they died on the same day!
The custom of sending “valentines” or “love tokens” usually anonymous, probably had only an accidental connection with St. Valentine. It really owes its origin to a belief held in medieval Europe. It was believed that at the start of the second fortnight of the second month that the birds began to mate. The poets picked up on this, blending mating with love and hence valentines! I only know that when I was a boy, I thought that girls were for the birds. Was I on to something? No, I really discovered in my teens that this whole love thing is really quite nice.
In a sense, every time we meet for worship we celebrate love—God’s love for us. He sent us a Valentine—His Word! Then He sent us His Son who is love personified---a “living” valentine.
When Thomas Edison was 38 years old, his wife died leaving him a very lonely man. Six months after her death, Edison began looking for a new mate. He would leave no stone unturned in a systematic search reflecting his scientific nature. Although he liked to be portrayed in the media as a genius who worked in solitude, Edison had quietly assembled a fine research team to search for a new wife.
He hated social events, but dinner parties in the home of friends in Boston helped him meet many candidates at one time. He was proud of this efficient approach. But rather than making a calm, rational choice, he fell head over heels for an 18-year-old young lady from Ohio. She was everything he wasn’t—religious, cultured, and beautiful, plus young enough to his daughter. He threw his normal caution to the wind and acted like a lovesick fool until Mina Miller would agree to marry him. An iron-willed, self-disciplined, workaholic found himself bitten by the love bug. He was unable to concentrate in his research lab and whiled away weeks writing silly notes to an 18-year-old. Finally, after their marriage, Edison settled back into his inventive routine.
SEVEN STAGES OF A MARRIED COLD
First Year: “Sugar Dumpling, I’m really worried about my baby girl. You’ve got a bad sniffle and there’s no telling about these things with all the stuff that’s going around. I’m putting you in the hospital this afternoon for a general checkup and a good rest. I know the food’s lousy, but I’ll be bringing your meals in.”
Second Year: “Listen darling, I don’t like the sound of that cough and I’ve called Doc Miller to rush over here. Now you go to bed like a good girl, just for Poops.”
Third Year: “Maybe you had better lie down, honey. Nothing like a little rest when you don’t feel good. I’ll bring you something for lunch. Do we have any canned soup?”
Fourth Year: “Now look, dear, be sensible. After you’ve fed the kids and got the dishes done and the floor waxed, why don’t you lie down?”
Fifth year: “Not feeling good? Take a couple of aspirin!”
Sixth Year: “I wish you’d just gargle or something instead of sitting around barking like a seal.”
Seventh Year: “For Pete’s sake, stop sneezing! Are you trying to give me pneumonia?”
Back to Mina Miller. She wasn’t bothered by Edison’s poor hearing or even his chronic halitosis. She just brushed the dandruff off his coat and fell in love with him. This is the kind of love that sees the best in others.
Miss Miller totally accepted Edison because love is not always practical or rational.
We do strange things when we’re in love. And so does God! He loved us even when we were breaking His lase and His heart.
In our text today, the Apostle Paul compares love with several other prized gifts. In every case he shows that no matter what else a person excels in, he is of little value unless he has the greatest gift of all---God’s love.
This love is not sentimental or theoretical. It is not cheap, theatrical love. It is a deep, quiet, strong love born of God. It is His love for us and in us.
At his clinic in Topeka, Kansas, Dr. Carl Menninger instructed his entire staff that the most important thing they could offer any patient was love. He said, “If people can learn to give and receive love, they will usually recover from their physical or mental illness.”