A group of 4-8 year olds was asked, “What does love mean?” Here are some of their answers:
“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore so my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.” Rebecca — age 8.
“Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.” Karl — age 5
“Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.” Chrissy — age 6
“Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is okay.” Danny — age 7
“Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.” Bobby — age 7
“Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it every day.” Noelle — age 7
“During my piano recital I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore.” Cindy — age 8
“Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Brad Pitt.” Chris — age 7
“I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.” Lauren — age 5
“You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.” Jessica — age 8 (from Mikey’s Funnies)
These are all great definitions… and there is some real wisdom found here from the mouths of babes. Now John in his first epistle has a definition as well. Love is… doing what Jesus did! He writes: “…if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly in him; This is how we know we are in him; Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:5-6)
Witness the way Jesus loved… touching an unclean leper, talking to an outcast Samaritan woman, going to Matthew the tax collector’s party, praying for his disciples in the upper room (knowing full well they would soon forsake Him), taking up a hideous cross and dragging it through the streets of Golgotha, accepting freely the nails through His wrists, praying earnestly for His enemies as they gambled away his clothing… That is quite a model. Do we possess the “Jesus style” of loving?
Mother Theresa had a unique phrase to describe this Christ-like love. She once wrote: “We must grow in love and to do this we must go on loving and loving and giving and giving until it hurts—the way Jesus did. Do ordinary things with extraordinary love: little things like caring for the sick and the homeless, the lonely and the unwanted, washing and cleaning for them. You must give what will cost you something. … Then your gift becomes a sacrifice, which will have value before God. Any sacrifice is useful if it is done out of love. This giving until it hurts—this sacrifice—is also what I call love in action. (A Simple Path, Ballantine Books, 1995, p. 99)
So this Valentine’s Day, walk as Jesus walked… love the unloveable… sacrifice something of value… go all out… and put your love into Action!