Tuesday, December 02, 2008

How Much Does Love Weigh?

Denise, from Shortybear's Place, is hosting In "Other" Words Tuesday today. I love the quote she chose! It's so timely, as Christmas is just around the corner!

I talked yesterday At the Well about how we had scaled back Christmas giving, drawing names among the adults and buying gifts for each child in our family. Our family is not materialistic, but we do love to be together and we show that love at Christmas by giving each other gifts, just as the wise men gave Jesus gifts. Our hearts are expressing the sentiment of love and appreciation for each other, just as the wise men came bearing gifts out of love and appreciation and deference to the Savior, newly born, or perhaps a toddler by the time they reached Him. I find the gifts they brought to Him to be very meaningful, so I try to choose meaningful gifts for my family and friends. The wise men gave gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

  • Gold is constant, beautiful, and expendable.
  • Frankincense is a resin from a tree and could be burned for its aroma.
  • Myrrh was used for incense, perfume, and medicine.
It's imperative to remember that this month is not about all the material gifts we'll give and receive. It's about living our love out loud for our Savior.

I love the story about the widow's offering.

"Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others." ~ Mark 12:41-43 (NIV)

Oh, my friends, she gave sacrificially! She gave from her heart!

Sometimes I feel that's all I have to give. When I feel guilty for not spending money that I don't have on gifts people don't need, I think of this poor widow above and give what I can. When I'm tapped out monetarily I then go in to Martha-mode.

You know Martha. She had the ultimate gift of hospitality, except for one small fit she pitched, but who among us hasn't gone into a tizzy at one time or another? I picture Martha baking, taking food to widows and orphans, taking the time to cook for family and friends and hosting many get-together's at her home.

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God." ~ 1 John 4:7 (NIV) (Emphasis, mine)

The Greek word for the first and last words of love in the verse above is agapaō, which means:

1) of persons

a) to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly

2) of things

a) to be well pleased, to be contented at or with a thing

The Greek word for the second word love mentioned in the verse above is agapē, which means:

1) affection, good will, love, benevolence, brotherly love

2) love feasts

There are several ways I can show my love this month and each month that follows without having to spend it in gold, so to speak.

  • I can sit with my 85 year old grandmother and assure her that she has enough pajamas in her drawer and remind her she is out of school. She has Alzheimers.

  • I can babysit a 14 month old grandson and a 2 month old grandson for my overly tired bonus daughter when she's operating on zero sleep for 3 days straight.

  • I can be an hour late for work so I can go by my Dad's just to be there for him when he has his pacemaker appointment over the phone.

  • I can bake cookies and bring them to work for coworkers to munch on in the afternoon.

  • I can hold the hand of a friend who misses her sister and her daddy.

  • I can listen to my husband's fears and concerns regarding Tourette's and the male hereditary rate.

  • I can bake a cake and take it to the in-laws for no reason at all.

  • I can pour out my heart before the Lord on behalf of family, friends, and this crazy mixed up world and it's issues.

When things like car repairs and doctor bills deplete your financial resources, don't feel that material gifts are all you have. Be willing to put the time and love into giving this Christmas season. Just as the wise men brought their gifts to Christ, and just as the widow gave all the money she had, we can give what we have...the sacrifices of heart and time.

"For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have." ~ 2 Corinthians 8:12 (NIV)

So...how much does love weigh?

As much as you choose to let it. You must be willing to express it for it to become.

Let's let our love be a mirror, reflecting Christ's love for us this Christmas season. Throughout the month we will no doubt have opportunities to spend. Whether it's in gold or time, let us spend it willingly and with love.

"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)

For more In "Other" Words Tuesdays, please click the button below to visit our hostess, Denise.


Melanie said...

I really think so much of how we show love is in the types of items you listed where we spend time with people. Time listening, time sharing, time helping them out. Those are the most valuable.. so much more than the cost of any material item we might ever buy them.

Great post!

LAURIE said...

Beautifully written Laurie Ann! The best gifts are those that come from our heart not our pocketbook. -Blessings, Laurie

He And Me + 3 said...

OMGosh, Laurie Ann, I had the older Children's Church this past Sunday and my lesson was on Giving and the Widows mite. YOur post is so familiar. Thank you for posting such great truth.

Denise said...

I love this beautiful post my friend.

Esthermay said...

I like this. Very much! It's very very sad that over the centuries we have equated LOVE with material things. This was never intended -- God knew it would happen - but only because we a have free will and our ways are NOT God's ways. It takes a spiritually mature reciever of a true gift of LOVE to accept it graciously and know the spirit from which it came. In exactly the same way: it takes a spiritually mature Christian to understand II Corinthians 9:15!
Love is so much heavier than gold -- paper money too. :-)

MiPa said...

Great, practical ways to show love to t hose around us. Thanks for sharing.

Denise said...

Please come link up, mister linky is working now.

Sharon said...

Hi Laurie Ann,
Thank you for stopping by my blog! You have a beautiful blog and I enjoyed your post and the examples you listed of things you could do instead of a gift. Those things will be remembered more than a material gift.
Blessings to you!

luvmy4sons said...

Thanks for your lovely comment and stopping by my blog. I enjoyed your post today!

Jennifer said...

Beautiful post! We all can give of our time when the money is running low and when their is plenty.

Thanks for reminding me today to give from the heart.

Dawn said...

True gifts come from the heart and you have such a sweet heart! Great post!

Tracy said...

Amen dear girl! Beautifully spoken. You're so right, giving from the heart is such a meaningful way to show love to others. Perfectly timed reminder. Thank you my friend!


P.S. Your grey poupon comment yesterday had me laughing out loud! ; )

Debra said...

Laurie Ann,

Absolutely so true...giving love to others by way of our time is such an important gift!!

((hugs)) to you, sweet friend!

Jennifer said...

Absolutely! I just updated my profile to include my email address. I thought I had already done that...I entered it but forgot to check the box. What's new! Somedays...if I had a brain...I would take it out and play with it :-)

bp said...

"As much as you choose to let it"

I love this! So true, my friend.

Betsy Markman said...

Sounds like you have lots of love to give...plenty of "weight" to it! God bless you.

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

Hi Laurie Ann,
You really reminded me today to think of "ways" to show my love.
I may start my own list... and put it into action as well.
Thanks for sharing this post today!

LauraLee Shaw said...

Oh WoW, what a perfectly perfect way for me to end my day. Incredible post today, Laurie Ann!

Willow said...

Laurie Ann, this is a beautiful post and it really refocuses on what Christmas is all about. You have such a beautiful heart.

Lynda P. said...

I did not realize Tourrette's is inherited by males in the family. I think this is one of these things that Steve may have to put on a shelf, let it gather dust and just pray that his grandsons remain symptom-free. There is nothing he can do about it until and if symptoms appear. But he has been able to have a rich and happy life despite the Tourrette's and his grandsons will also have a good life surrounded by love. A person is not determined by his disability. But I will keep the babies' health in my prayers.