When I saw the date for this article I knew immediately what I would write about. What else could it be, since baseball’s Spring Training opens this week? Just kidding.
There is, however, a remote baseball connection to my subject. A year or two ago I was organizing some thoughts on the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), those qualities God wants to see growing in his children. It occurred to me that there are nine. And love leads off.
Love is an important theme in the Bible. Maybe the most important theme. What is the best known verse in the Bible? John 3:16 -- “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son ....”. Which is the best known chapter in the Bible? Quite probably it’s the ‘love chapter’, 1 Corinthians 13. And the greatest commandment? Of course that is, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30)
February 14 is a day we are encouraged to think about those special people in our lives, and do something to show how much we care. It’s a day you may remember a first date or a first kiss. Men, you might be thinking back on the day you proposed, and she said, ‘Yes’. Ladies, you might be picturing the two of you when he said ‘I do’. Parents, do you remember holding your newborn daughter or son (or grandchild) for the first time? Focus on those powerful feelings. I believe that’s how deeply God loves us.
The first mention of love in the Bible (in most translations) is Genesis 22:2. God tells Abraham, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, … and sacrifice him …”. This son of his beloved wife, Sarah. This child of the promise. This boy whom he too had held as a newborn. We know the story. Abraham passed the test of faith and God did not require that Isaac be sacrificed. But it was a fitting introduction to the love theme of the Bible.
Because we also know the rest of the story. A day would come when God would sacrifice his own son, his only son, Jesus, whom he loved. For the world, which he loves. For you and me, whom he loves.
On a day to remember special relationships, remember your relationship with God, and remember his gift that shows how much he cares.