Week of February 12
That Old Funny Feeling
by Skip Heitzig
Around Valentine's Day, you often hear definitions of love like this one I read somewhere: "It's a ticklish sensation around the heart that can't be scratched." Here's another one: "Love makes you feel funny and act stupid."
I don't know whether this is funny, or stupid, or what, but the longest love letter ever written was sent by Marcel de Leclure to his sweetheart, Magdalene de Villalore, in 1875. It said "I love you" 1,875,000 times, one thousand times the date. Before you say, "That's really romantic!" let me tell you that he hired somebody to do the actual writing for him.
Even if he had written it himself, that wouldn't compare to the picture of love given in the book of Ruth. It's a great object lesson on love, and a very romantic story. I invite you Ruth 1 (don't worry; it's short, only about four pages). Ruth is the story of the love that grows between a wealthy landowner and a young woman who seemingly had no hope. No hope, that is, except that she had the Lord on her side.
The devotion of Ruth to Naomi, her dead husband's mother, is the means that God used to rescue both of them from a life of want, and to provide for their deepest needs. The three principal people in the story—Ruth, Naomi and Boaz—all showed the self-sacrificing love that mirrors the love of God. Ruth sacrificed her future to stay with Naomi. Naomi sacrificed her only means of support to provide Ruth with a husband. And Boaz sacrificed his goods to provide for Ruth's physical needs. In the end, all received far more than they gave.
This is the kind of love explained in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8: "Love suffers long and is kind; love…bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." It's the same kind as the love in 1 John 4:7: "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God." This is the agapao love that only comes from God.
Of course, the story of Ruth also represents the self-sacrificing love of Jesus Christ for his church. Only God could be the source of that kind of love, and only by remaining connected to God can we nurture and sustain the love that we need in our relationships.
There's nothing wrong with "ticklish" or "funny" feelings. They're great. But remember that the self-sacrificing love, the love that grows and becomes more precious with time, is the love that comes from God.
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