No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4: 12
Our amazing God has taught us how to love by His own love for us. He has proven over and over that His love for us is trustworthy, everlasting, and unconditional and that His promises will always stand. He has poured His blessings upon us and given us the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, who came to earth with His saving grace. He has shown us that we, too, must demonstrate our love for others through our actions and deeds.
Love requires devotion, faithfulness, tenderness, gratitude, and a genuine desire to put the wants and needs of others above our own. God continues to teach us about love in the most amazing ways, and sometimes He even uses the heart of a child to show us what is truly important.
I was reminded of this last night as Kelly and I talked on the phone about her day and the little things the boys did to make her birthday so sweet and memorable. They made birthday cards for her, decorated the kitchen with balloons, put candles on her cake, and even came up with their own gift ideas.
Miles gave her a book he had bought at his Book Fair at school last week that he said looked a little like the Baby Sitters’ Club series she loved as a child. He said when he saw it, he thought of her and thought she might like it. Cole had searched through his bin of art supplies, found a cone shaped cup, painted it with flowers and trees, and wrote “Happy Birthday, Mom” to give to her. He knew she likes his paintings so he felt confident she would love it!
Kelly said it was so amazing to think that in their minds and hearts they thought this was the best way to show their love for her and that this was all that was needed. And it was more than enough!
Of course, it meant more to her than anything they could have ever bought. They came up with these things on their own without any suggestions or encouragement from any of us. It simply came from their hearts to give her a gift they thought would make her happy. She and I talked about how this might be the greatest, most loving gift she will ever receive from them – or maybe from anyone else. For when will she ever receive such sweet, innocent gifts again? Such simple ones, but gifts that meant sacrifice, time, effort, thought, and the desires of her little boys to give of themselves to her.
We were all proud of Miles for he could have used the money to buy himself a book at his school’s Book Fair, but he chose to buy her one instead. He sacrificed what he wanted for her. And he couldn’t have been more excited about the $2 used book than if he was giving her a diamond necklace from Tiffany’s! It was his personal gift to his mom and he was so proud that he had thought of it and purchased it on his own.
The same was true of Cole. He had put his heart and soul, his time, and his efforts into making his gift the best one he could make, and he waited with much anticipation and pride to give it to her. Such gifts of love. How priceless they were and nothing could have meant more!
These little acts of kindness and gifts are not unique to just our boys. We all have experienced it, either by giving them as a child to our parents or to someone important to us, or our children giving them to us. But how we forget what is truly important, and what these simple, thoughtful acts of love can mean. We often keep them, stuff them away, and bring them out years later with such fond memories. But may we never take for granted the love with which they were made or given.
After I hung up the phone, I thought of how much we too often “put away from our minds and hearts” the greatest gift of love ever given to us as found in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life.”
How little we think of the sacrifice that was made on our behalf. For God so loved us with such a pure, perfect, unconditional love that He wanted to give us the gift of His grace and eternal life. He gave us this gift of love, a gift given at great cost with the death of His Son on the cross.
May we never take this gift for granted and know that with His death and resurrection, “His love has been made complete in us.” With His Spirit living in us, we too can love others with a more sincere and loving heart.
Our heavenly Father, we thank you for teaching us how to love and for loving us so completely and unconditionally. Thank you for all the blessings of life you have given us, and may we always give you the honor, glory, and praise for the gift of of your Son and His saving grace. With the Easter season upon us, may we prepare our hearts to remember and be grateful for the gift of your love and grace. Amen