I had originally wanted to title this message ‘The Power of Love’; because today is, after all, Valentine’s Day. But after much consideration, I decided that it was too tacky and didn’t really capture the essence of today’s message. Nonetheless, today’s message really is about the power of love, and how love helps us realize just how loved and blessed we really are.

Let’s start with a simple exercise. Since today is Valentine’s, I’d like us to list 5 things that we have done for our loved ones. It could be something you did for your parents or your children. Don’t just limit it to your spouse or partner. … Got that?

Now, what resources did you use to accomplish that task? Yes, you heard me right. What ‘thing’ did you use to accomplish that task? For example, if you send your children to school, what resource, what ‘thing’ did you use to accomplish that? Your car? Money for bus fare, perhaps. Did you need to get up earlier than you otherwise would have? So that took energy? Will power? And if you were sending your children to school, I can’t imagine that to be an easy task. Did you require patience, so that you wouldn’t blow your top when they refused to be dressed? Yes, that line of thinking. So list then, what resources did you need to accomplish that task. … Done?

Now, what would you have done with your car, your money, your energy, your patience; if you didn’t spend it on that nice thing that you did for your beloved? Really, think about it. What would you have done? Slept in? Spent the money on yourself? Stayed home and watched TV?

Finally, where did that ‘resource’ come from? Where did your car come from? Your money, your energy, your patience; where did all those ‘things’ come from?

If you went through that entire thought process with me, you would have come to two realizations; firstly, that you are truly blessed; and secondly, it’s really pointless to be that blessed if you don’t use it to bless others. Don’t you agree?

Growing up as an only child, I had a foul attitude. I never knew how to share because I never needed to share. In fact, quite to the contrary, I was always taught to protect my possessions, not share them. Logical, really; not desirable, but logical.

But after I got married, I began to realize that I could share. Of course this realization didn’t come to me overnight. Nor was there a cosmic turn of events that zapped me with a generous heart. No, I grew into it; but I wouldn’t have realized that it happened if I didn’t stop to take stock of my life.

Is it the same with you? You were moseying along your merry way, never noticing the changes in your behavior and attitude till one day, a message posted on a Christian website made you stop and take stock of your life. And then you realized, hey, I’ve really changed a lot.

When you were 10, all you could think of was getting home and hitting the games. When you were 20, all you could think of was getting home and getting on the phone with that special someone in your life. When you are 40, all you can think of is getting home and getting on the stove to cook for your family who are coming home to hit the games and get on the phone. Did you ever imagine at 10, how you would be at 40?

And let’s be honest. Did you think that you developed that selfless patience all on your own? You think I did? We didn’t, did we? We couldn’t have. Selfish behavior is, well, selfish. And ‘selfish’ can never change to ‘selfless’ because there is no selfish impetus, intrinsic or extrinsic, to do so. So how did you think you changed?

You know, whether we are talking about transformations in our career and financial situation, or changes in our attitude and behavior; such wondrous provisions always come from our Father; but I chose to illustrate with behavior change because that is the area in which we all agree that no amount of effort on our part can ever make us willingly do something we never liked to do, much less desire to continue making that sacrifice for a sustained period of time. Material possessions, some may consider that their effort. But a change in attitude, unmistakably divine.

Then consider what would happen if you chose not to use that blessing? What if you had the car, but decided not to send your kids to school? What if you had the money, but decided not to bless your spouse with the gift she always wanted? What if you had the patience but decided not to use it to wake your kids up and get them ready for school? Gone to waste, wouldn’t it, those gifts? Pointless giving them to you. And that’s my point.

You know, in the hustle and bustle of our lives of ‘I, me, myself’, we don’t ‘stop and smell the flowers’ as often as we should; and because of that, we don’t realize just how blessed we already are; and consequently, how blessed we will be as we go through each and every day of our lives.

And that disadvantages us, because without that constant revelation and realization, we start to think that we are all alone in our fights and needlessly worry about how we are going to get ourselves out of our next crisis; when the reality is, our Father is always there, watching over us, ready, willing and constantly supplying us whenever the need arises.

And yes, we could do anything we want with everything we have. But there are some blessings that will only surface when they are used to bless others. So if they are left unused, we will never realize just how blessed we are because we would never have a chance to see just how blessed we really are.

That’s why Paul says,

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

It’s true isn’t it?

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love [for others growing out of God’s love for me], then I have become only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal [just an annoying distraction].” 1 Corinthians 13:1 [AMP]

Why? Because what you say and what you do will be two completely different things. You may preach ‘caring and sharing’, you may teach the love of God; but when others don’t see that same belief manifest in your life, you really have no credibility anymore, do you?

“And if I have the gift of prophecy [and speak a new message from God to the people], and understand all mysteries, and [possess] all knowledge; and if I have all [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love [reaching out to others], I am nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:2 [AMP]

Have you ever been there? You are looking onto a situation and you know, from experience, that if someone continues down that path, there is going to be trouble. But you hold your tongue for some reason, and when that which you know will happen, finally happens; how do you feel? Guilty? Responsible? You could well have prevented it, but all your knowledge and experience counted for naught because you chose not to bless someone else with them, true?

So contextualizing today’s passage,

If you had the car sitting at home but have not love to send your children to school with it, of what use is that car? If you had the gift of patience to get your children ready for school but have not love to get up early, when how will your children know that you love them?

Beloved child of God, if our Father didn’t bless you physically, materially, in tangible ways that you could see, touch and feel; how would you know that He loves you? If all He did was ‘think’ about blessing you and never got round to doing any blessing, how will you ever experience His love?

In the same way, to the extent that we have been blessed, so too should we use those gifts to bless those we love, extending our Father’s love to all whom we have been led to love.

Think about it, if that boy did not give his five loaves and two fish to Jesus, if he had not the love for the people and want to do his part, no matter how small it may have seemed to be to him at the time; his blessing would still have remained his. But it would not have had the chance to be multiplied to the point where not only was it enough to feed the crowd of 5000, there were 12 full baskets left over.

A blessing kept is a blessing wasted. For when we bless others with what we have been blessed with, then surely we will realize just how blessed and loved we are. And with that, will come the realization that in the face of any trouble, there’s plenty more where that came from.

So go on and be a blessing to others, loving them with the same love that our Father loves you. For His blessings are the only resource that grows each time it is used.

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