“God demonstrated his own love for us in this: while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

This year Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day fall side-by-side. Which is more important? Which will receive more of your time, effort, and money?

Legend says an early Christian named Valentine was imprisoned for his faith. From his cell window he could pick heart-shaped leaves, on which he pierced the words, “Remember your Valentine.” These he sent homeward by a friendly dove. On subsequent days his message read simply, “I love you.” Thus, legend says, began the custom of sending valentines to remember those we love.

Infinitely greater than Valentine’s love or our own love for sweetheart, spouse, friend, or family member is the love of God for us – while we were yet sinners Christ died for us! God sent—once for all—the purest valentine, a valentine beyond comprehension. He sent his beloved Son, the Lord of heaven, to suffer and die to save us from our sins.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of our remembrance of his sacrifice.

By God’s grace, we know and believe this. But, oh, so many don’t! They are unaware of God’s great love. They are burdened trying to work out their own salvation. They grope in the darkness for any glimmer of hope that they can somehow become right with God.

Dear sisters, we have the message the world needs! We have work to do: to speak it to those around us, to give of our time and talent in programs that share it with our communities, and to support those who carry it where we cannot go.

Enjoy the love of your family and friends on Valentine’s Day, but be sure to precede it with pondering the mystery of Christ’s sacrifice for us, with praises to our gracious God, and with prayers for renewed faith and strength to follow his will. Make the spread of the gospel message a priority in your day-to-day life for the increase of God’s kingdom and the glory of his holy name.