Core scripture: “Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Corinthians 16:14).
Message: Middle schoolers crack me up. Valentine’s Day last week I had them journal about love. Either how they had showed it or how someone had shown them love. The first thing that pops into a kid’s head is relationships. Boyfriends and girlfriends. They want to grow up so quick! I was quick to remind them that the word love is so much broader than that. We see it in family. Friends. Hobbies. As I read their journals last weekend, I was reminded about the simple things that make kids feel loved.
But love is so much more than our students. It is not so much the way we treat just them but everyone we encounter. Love is a lifestyle. It is something the Christian teacher clothes themselves in wherever they go. Colossians 3:14 says, “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” That love pours into our family, our colleagues, our friends. Even strangers we come across in public. We put on love the same way we put on our clothes each morning. And when our heads hit the pillow at the end of the day, we should have nothing left to give. It makes me reflect on the different types of love I have seen.
I have this student. An absolute sweetheart. She’s an introvert. Quiet and shy, but her smile and dimples can light up a room like none other. She arrived in my room last week with a blank face, burying her head in her hands. Something was up. She had been missing more school than others recently, and that golden smile had all but disappeared from her depressed face. I approached her, knelt down, and asked her quietly what was wrong. Her head arose slowly, and she asked to talk after class. Out of the love in my heart, I obliged, and when she told me her mood had been at a one out of ten for some time, I sent her straight to the counselor.
I have this friend at work. She’s had a rough year. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? When life just seems to be crashing down in all areas. Work has almost been an escape for her. A safe place where she can bask in the warmth of the love of her family away from home. She has opened up to her closest friends about her struggles, and although her emotions at times may be fragile, she is powering through. How so? Through love. One of my good friends prayed over her. Our team wrote a card to her. Our prayer group has been lifting her up. I always remind her that she is being prayed for. That love is filling her bucket enough to power on.
I have these boys at home. They are my life. In the midst of a four-day weekend—thank the Lord for President’s Day and ice storm days—I am blessed with quality time with them; however, they exhaust me. They LOVE to wrestle me in the basement in a game they have dubbed Fun Time With Daddy. My 41-year-old back says no, but a love in my heart says yes. So I have romped and rolled with them, garnering energy to keep up from the Holy Spirit. I never realized how much it meant to them until my oldest came home from church Sunday with a picture he drew in his free time. It showed Fun Time With Daddy. He gave it to me to take to work.
I have this wife. She works her tail off for her family. She shows love to preschoolers all day. She shows love to her family for a quick 15 to 30 minutes, checking backpacks and homework assignments, all before running off to show love to the numerous students she tutors in the evenings. By the time she gets home, we tag-team our love to feed the boys, shower them, and get them ready for bedtime. There isn’t much time for us to sit down and talk. Exhaustion always sets in by that point. But last night it was the small acts of love that mattered. She gave me a shoulder rub. I cleaned dishes and read books to the boys to give her time off. All in the name of love.
Where does this love come from? It comes straight from God who loved us so much that He gave us His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). It comes from Jesus who reminds us in John 15:13 that, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Jesus is more than just our friend. He is our life, our salvation, our everything, and we have opportunities on a daily basis to show that love to everyone we encounter. Will you join me in being that love to others this week? Every day should be Valentine’s Day.
Challenge: Who needs love in your life? Is anyone hurting or in need of encouragement? How can you love on these people? Act upon your loving instincts. If you have any ideas to share that have worked for you, please respond below. Reply back with a tangible way that the Christian teacher can show love. I would love to hear from you!
Video application: I cannot watch this YouTube video enough. A 20-year-old girl normally would wait for gifts from friends and family. This girl used her 20th birthday to spread 20 acts of kindness to those around her, almost all of whom were strangers. Check it out for a few ideas on how we can be love to others.
Song application: “One Thing Remains” by Kristian Stanfill
Higher than the mountains that I face
stronger than the power of the grave
constant in the trial and the change
This one thing remains
This one thing remains
Your love never fails, it never gives up
it never runs out on me
Cinema application: Fireproof is a wonderful Valentine’s Day movie to watch, especially in showing how submitting to Jesus can overcome any marriage obstacle. Watch it with your spouse or significant other.
Journal/Accountability: Write or talk to a close friend about ways your life can overflow with love for others.
Quote: “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” (William Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well)
Bible story: There are too many stories of love in the Bible. The Bible is God’s Word of love to us all. Take your pick of any of the following scripture to meditate on: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 1 John 4:8, John 13:34-35, Mark 12:30-31, 1 Peter 4:8, and 1 Corinthians 13:13.
Prayer: Lord, I pray my life will be an outpouring of Your love so others might see You more clearly. Amen.