Paul Witkop is pastor of Light of the Desert Lutheran Church in Cave Creek.

Valentine live to give
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

One of the most common principles by which people seek success in life is “look out for number one.” It is very natural and starts from birth when one of the first words each child learns is “mine.”

I want to suggest another way to live that will be even more successful. It will work for individuals, couples, families, offices, schools, bosses, workers…anyone. Actually, I cannot take credit for it. This principle comes from Jesus.

You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader (great) among you must be your servant. —Mark 10:42-43

This week, my wife came home from a very emotionally taxing day at work. In one of the few times when I actually took time to listen, to serve her, rather than offer my sage advice, I could see that more than anything, she needed my ears and my hug. My hug didn’t change any of the difficult circumstances. It was a simple gesture with a much-needed message of how much I valued her attached. From her grateful response, I think she appreciated it. Please know that there have been many other times when I didn’t get it right, when the first words out of my mouth were, “Here is what you need to do to fix it.”

In his book, The Blessing, author John Trent writes that many of us spend an entire lifetime, perhaps unknowingly, in search of affirmation and love. Imagine going through all of life, waiting for a hug and never getting it, longing for someone to ascribe value to your life and but it never happened.

The source of our strength is knowing that we are loved and accepted by God. The apostle Paul writes, If God is for us, who can be against us? You and I matter to God more than we could ever imagine. What’s more, when we are sure of that God loves us, then we can risk reaching out to other people. The best joys in life are not fixing others but giving love to others.

In these crazy COVID-19 days, it is especially true. You and I are the best messengers of love and affirmation to others. That is what it means to bless someone…and it creates a chain reaction. Imagine, blessing someone else so that person can bless someone too.

How can we be a blessing?

  • With your encouraging words — face to face or by telephone
  • With a meaningful appropriate touch (like a safe hug)
  • By making a big deal over someone
  • By reminding them that there is always hope

Make it your valentine’s present to the people in your life to encourage them, to bless them. And as you do, the most amazing thing will happen. You will be blessed and encouraged, too.

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