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Timmy’s family had recently moved to a small town where he had begun second grade. One day he rushed home to tell his mother that his class was planning their Valentine’s Day party. They would each hang up a decorated sack to receive Valentines and the children would give them to whomever they wanted. And Timmy wanted to give everyone a Valentine. “I want to tell each one I love them,” he said.
Timmy wanted to make the Valentines himself so they would be “special.” Every evening he cut and pasted and printed messages. And every evening he checked and rechecked the list of names to make sure no one was left out. His mother’s heart was heavy because she knew that Timmy was likely to be the one left out. She had watched him walking home from school alone behind the groups of children. She heard them make fun of his small size and his accent from another part of the country. He was just different enough to become the butt of jokes and catcalls.
Valentine’s Day arrived and Timmy went off to school clutching his precious hand-made Valentines. He was whistling happily. As the day wore on, his mother often thought about her little son and wondered if it might work out. Maybe the children would include him after all. Maybe their parents would insist that they include every child in the class.
That afternoon she baked his favorite cookies and had them ready for him after school. Soon she heard running footsteps. Timmy burst into the kitchen and threw his arms around her. He had dropped his Valentine sack and it was empty. “Not one,” he was saying, “not one.”
She bent down to wipe away his tears, but the face that looked up into hers was radiant with joy. He was almost shouting, “Not one, Mom. I didn’t forget one. Now they all know I love them.”
Human love is examined.
It is the most written about, most sung about, most talked about thing in the world. And the least practiced.
God’s love is exhibited.
The word love is not used extensively in the Bible. But it is exhibited extensively. He has let us know that He loves us: “This is how God showed his love among us, He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9 NIV).
Human love expects.
It expects its object to return love with the same ardor it receives it.
God’s love accepts.
He loves knowing that in many cases His love will not be returned. “This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
Human love excludes.
It often excludes those of different races, backgrounds, and social status.
God’s love extends.
It extends to all, no matter how seemingly unworthy or unlovable. He doesn’t forget one.
That’s love. A love like Timmy’s. A love like God’s.