A Different Kind of Valentine

What if a friend, relative or acquaintance listened intently while we expressed our frustrations, concerns or desires, without looking at their watch, or glancing over our shoulder, or saying, “Sure, I have a minute?”

Or how would it feel if someone actually took the time to shop for our birthday card, write a note, address the envelope, find a stamp and mail it—the old fashion way? In both instances we’d feel that we mattered, we counted, that someone cared.

I’m reminded of how Mary, who’d become the mother of Jesus, traveled to visit Elizabeth to share her news. Mary needed a listening ear to her apprehensions, to the awesome task ahead for she and Joseph. Elizabeth had her own concerns as she too, carried an important child, John the Baptist. Yet, nothing distracted her from giving Mary her full attention.

And Jesus set the stage on how to give time. The story is simple and some might say, “how sweet.” But Jesus’ example spoke volumes. Jesus had little time to instruct His disciples before He’d leave them. Every minute counted. And in Matthew 19: 13-15 were told how the disciples too, felt the urgency. They wanted no disturbance to interfere with their training, especially children. But the children came. They wanted to spend time with Jesus. The disciples tried to turn them away and were gruff. But Jesus rebuked them: “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of Heaven” (NKJV). Jesus set aside what the world and others thought important. Nothing mattered more to the CEO of Heaven then to hold and to bless the little ones. He set aside His agenda, and took the time.

Our culture praises the art of multi-tasking. Without leaving the house we can send an on-line greeting, gift cards, or order items sent direct to a person’s home. And it’s easy to text someone and ask how they are doing without it costing us time. But for those of us on the receiving end, these quick fixes can make us feel like a number: A check mark on someone’s to-do list.

Our biblical examples live out what Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times.” Listening and time: true gifts of love are not given when it’s convenient, but at all times.

May we remember Jesus never treats us as with a quick fax, text, or email. He gave His heart of love. And for an added bonus, we’re promised in Psalm 121:3, “He who keeps you will not slumber, behold, He who keeps [insert your name] shall neither slumber nor sleep.” He’s near at all times to listen.

This year let’s give A Different Kind of Valentine by making the effort to go the extra mile, and give our listening ear and time to those we love, and those in need.