I recently caught a snippet of a radio broadcast featuring an interview with several men who were asked which holiday or special celebration of the year they enjoyed most and least. The men were obviously American, since Thanksgiving was at the top of their list, because it includes football! There were varying opinions on Halloween and Christmas, but what caught my attention was the general agreement that Valentine’s Day is the worst day of the year for men. They didn’t say it this way, but along with having to shop for cards and gifts, and arranging special dates, many men feel it’s a day for women that leaves men with their pockets picked! Most of all, men don’t relate to the warm fuzzy feelings that women call love. The little I heard, though not surprising and perhaps stereotypical, made me think. What is love?
Peter came to mind. Jesus had been arrested, and while He was being questioned by the High Priest, Peter denied three times that he knew Him. After His resurrection, Jesus appears to Peter and six other disciples while they are fishing. Jesus prepares breakfast for them and then turns to Peter and asks him three versions of the same question, “Do you love me?” Each time Peter strongly affirms, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you,” to which Jesus replies, “Feed my lambs…Take care of my sheep…Feed my sheep.” Jesus wanted Peter to show His love by doing something – by obeying Him.
John 14 records Jesus teaching about love in general terms that include you and me: “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me…and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
Love isn’t warm fuzzy feelings that make men dread Valentine’s Day, or, as I’ve been given to understand, that make men stay away from church. Don’t get me wrong, girls, there’s nothing wrong with warm fuzzy feelings, but the bottom line for all of us is that love is obeying Jesus, and He says, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” Love isn’t primarily a feeling; it’s an action – doing what Jesus says, whether it’s for Him or others – and whether or not we have warm fuzzy feelings! The question Jesus asked Peter still begs to be answered today: “Do you love me?”