A father took Helen and Brandon, his two youth children, to the local mall to go shopping. As they pulled up, they spotted an eighteen-wheeler parked with a big sign reading, “Petting Zoo.” The children excitedly shouted, “Daddy, Daddy. Can we go? Please. Please. Can we go?” “Sure,” he said as he gave them each some money. The kids ran off to the petting zoo while their father walked into the mall.
After several minutes of perusing Sears, the dad noticed Helen walking along behind him. Shocked, he asked, “What’s wrong sweetheart?” She responded, “Well Daddy, it cost too much for both of us to go. So, I gave Brandon my money.” Then, to the father’s amazement, at the end of this statement she repeated their family’s motto: “Love is Action.” Despite the fact that no one adored all the cute and cuddly little animals more than Helen, she gave Brandon her money so he could enjoy the petting zoo. The father was extremely pleased with his daughter’s actions and, as you might imagine, made sure she got to go to the petting zoo (Dave Simmons, Dad, The Family Coach, 123-124).
The “love” we watch on TV, in the movies, and read in books is all about feelings and emotions. The media has portrayed love as this elusively rare feeling. It’s seen as something uncontrolled and sporadic. We watch people fall in love and out of love as if it were some out of control train, barreling down the tracks. We see people having premarital sex, committing adultery, and “falling in love” with someone else as if they couldn’t help themselves. This isn’t love.
Love is a choice. Love is service. Love is selfless. Love is self-sacrificing. Love is work. Love is action.
God is the ultimate example of true love. Romans 5:8 states, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” The true love we see here from God is the self-sacrificing, wanting the best for someone else, agape-type of love. This is the same love Christians are called upon to imitate.
Butterflies and warm, fuzzy feelings are nice, but fleeting. True love is seen in sleepless parents at 2 AM, surprise gifts from a spouse, and sweet little notes. It’s seen in clean dishes, empty trashcans, and unloaded moving trucks. It’s seen in jumper cables, food in the hands of the hungry, and service projects. Most importantly of all, true love is seen in obedience to God’s commands (John 14:15). When love is displayed in these ways, it’s only natural for the butterfly feelings to follow.
Today is labeled as a “day of love.” In all of our relationships, friendships, and acquaintances, let’s put forth the work and effort that comes with true love. After all, “Love is Action!” (1 John 3:17).