An act of Love

February – Valentine’s Day.  As you’re taking in all the Cupids, hearts, and chocolates, and Valentine festivities take another look at the calendar – February 14 is also Ash Wednesday, the traditional start of Lent.  Easter or Resurrection Sunday is only six weeks away. 


Lent is generally that season of the year when people have chosen to give up some favorite treat or vice. 

One man said his children traditionally gave up something like candy for Lent.

Last year, however, he urged them to go beyond that to giving up some habit or sin that they knew was bad for them. About halfway through Lent he asked the children how they were doing with their Lenten promise. His youngest son had promised to give up fighting with his brothers and sisters during Lent.

When his father asked him how it was going, the boy replied, “I’m doing pretty good, Dad–but boy, I can’t wait until Easter!”

Imagine that you’ve decided to give up candy for Lent, and then your significant other decides to surprise you with a delicious looking box of rich chocolates for Valentine’s. Who wins out–God or your sweetie?

It’s no surprise that Jesus’ wilderness testings dealt with temptations.  Jesus spent 40 days out in the wilderness.  Look at what He was tempted to do. It is not simply that Jesus is tempted to make himself the star of the show by turning rocks into bread or base jumping off the pinnacle of the temple.

Jesus is tempted to give his heart to someone other than God. Jesus’ temptation is also our fundamental temptation – to give our heart to someone or something other than God.  Jesus resisted the temptations by saying, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.'”

All throughout his life we find that the substance of his ministry was his willingness to say, “Not my will, but yours be done, Father.”

Sometime before his death, Jack Benny was in a florist shop. As he was leaving he said to the florist, “If anything should ever happen to me, I want you to send Mary a single red rose every day of her life.”

Mary, of course, was Mary Livingstone, Jack’s wife of 48 years. And, indeed, when Jack died there was a provision in his will that Mary was to receive one perfect red rose daily as long as she lived.  

True love is a beautiful thing. Of course, the most beautiful love of all is the love God has for you and me who gave the ultimate gift of love.  He gave His all.

So I was thinking.  Perhaps having Valentine’s Day at the start of Lent can be about more than just feeling guilty.  Maybe it can be more than resisting the urge to eat chocolate during Lent. Maybe it can remind us of the One who loved us enough to give His life for us.  And maybe it will call us to also give a sacrificial expression as an act of love in the name of Jesus.


As we go through these six weeks of Lent I hope you will be praying that God will make us more into the Christ-like people He has called us to be.

I pray that we will be able to overcome those “temptations” that come our way.  Unlike Christ, we will never in this world be without sin, but with His help we can resist temptations that are destructive to us and undermine our witness to the world.

And I pray that by his grace, we can grow stronger as we face the tests that come to us in our daily lives.

Finally, I pray that Christ might always have preeminence – first place – in our lives.

Have a Great Valentine’s Day, and remember – God loves you.