With Valentine’s Day in the rear-view mirror, we have heard many wonderful love stories, spent millions on Special Cards for Special People; kept the florist in business for another year and had enough chocolate covered strawberries to stuff a pig!

Let’s face it; most of us do appreciate the extra kindness and the opportunity to extend our love to those in our closest circle of family and friends.

I shared the following story last Sunday with our congregation. I thought our readers might also enjoy it.

Edward was a young man who was head over heels in love with a girl named Bonnie. Unfortunately, Bonnie wasn’t aware he existed.

Edward was desperate to let her know just how he elt, but was so shy. Finally he got up the courage and pulled her aside and said, “Bonnie, I know I’m not as handsome as Bill, and I’m not as rich as Bill, and I don’t have a new car like Bill, but I love you so much! Would you go out with me?”

Bonnie turned to him with enticing eyes and said, “Oh Edward, tell me more about Bill!”

Most of us have been there at some point. Working our way though the emotions and feelings of love, or what we think is love.

Love comes in many colors and shades. Biblically speaking, we find the origin of real love in the form of Almighty God. 1 John 4:8 reveals “God is love.” God is the originator, God is the giver and God through Christ is the ultimate example of pure love.

God has designed man and woman to have a biological attraction to each other. Eros is the Greek word for physical love. This kind of love helps us to fulfill the command, “Be fruitful and multiply.” This is what ol’ Edward was feeling for Bonnie. But she was still shopping.

Then there is the ‘brotherly’ kind of love. The Greek word for that is Philos. It is the kind of love that expresses itself in esteem and a strong bond — perhaps for family members or our fellow Christians in the church. It is very real, but is not physical in a sexual manor.

But it is the third and most amazing love that overshadows all others. The Greek word for this love is Agape. It God’s love. His love for the masses; “For God so loved the world” and His love for the individual “That whosoever believeth will have everlasting life.”

That is you and me. God’s great love is best described in Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrated His love for us, that in while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Agape love is not given because we deserve it. On the contrary, it was extended to us when we didn’t deserve it. God chose to love us. “Agape,” describes a love that is based on the deliberate choice of the one who loves, rather than the worthiness of the one who is loved.

The end of The Love Chapter in the Bible, I Corinthians 13, says it like this. “Now abide faith, hope and love, these three. But the greatest of these is love.”

The Rev. John Abbey is pastor of Bethel Church in Killeen.

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