The Magic Penny

It's been a long day at the end of a long week. This weekend did not come soon enough. Youth group tonight left me with unanswerable questions and a great number of curiosities. So pretty soon after I got home, I went to the only logical place to go when one has questions: Yahoo! Answers

Call me odd, but the first thing I searched was: "What is love?" The definitions and meanings that the website coughed up for me was staggering- and took me a good 40 minutes before I finally got tired of reading the different perspectives. Allow me to share a few of the notable ones with you.

"Love is when you get butterflies in your stomach from looking into their eyes, and the sound of their voice takes your breath away."
                     .... yeah, maybe if you're a Disney character.

"Love is a word with a meaning, yet can not be defined." 
                     ....Very deep.

"I think love is looking in that person's eyes and looking into their soul and knowing every corner and everything in there and loving every centimeter of it."
                      .... Okay, that's just creepy.

"Love is shown in the sacrifice you make for another person."
                      .... This guy sounds more on my page.

"A chemical reaction in the brain that runs out after 36 months."
                      .... That is the most depressing and bleak definition of love I've ever seen.

"Love is letting your guard down and taking a chance on something very risky, which could have the best results you could have ever imagined."
                       .... Well said!

If we traveled back in time about 13 years and meet myself when I was in Preschool, the definition of love that I would give you would come from a song we used to sing everyday:

                                               Love is something if you give it away, give it away, give it away.
Love is something if you give it away-
you end up having more!
It's just like a magic penny,
hold it tight and you won't have any!
But lend it, spend it, you'll have so many... 
they'll roll all over the floor!

Maybe you know me well, maybe you don't. But if I'm to be completely honest, I will have to admit I'm not a very social person. With people that I know, such as classmates and relatives, I'm Miss Loudmouth-Chatterbox-Extrovert-Weirdo. I indulge in the deepest of conversations with my close friends. I don't bother with politeness or 'necessary' cultural greetings and procedures. We're past those boundaries. We don't need them. Our love for each other is deeper than that, and we can just be US.

But with anybody else... it's back to the good ol' "Etiquette" script that everyone in the world has memorized. "Hi, how are you?" "Good, how about you?" "I'm good!" "Great!" "Have a good day!"

...Now, doesn't that just make you cringe? It's the same conversation. Everyday. With everybody. That's as far as it goes! No effort to reach into their lives. No genuine concern for them. No need to comfort or encourage them. No need to ask about their lives. No... just stick to the basic lies that we say every. single. day.

When I'm planning to go hang out with friends, there's no hesitation. It doesn't even matter what we're doing to be doing- I just want to be with them. It doesn't matter if we lounge on couches doing nothing for hours. Being with them is good enough for me. But it is SUCH a struggle to get me to come to events where there are new people. Or people that I don't really know well. Or people that I don't really like. Or people that are younger than me. Or people that are older than me. The thing is- pretty much every person in the world could fall into one of those categories. And... the OTHER thing is... God has called me to love every person in the world that I encounter. 

It is a pain for me to go hang out with the crazy kids who just want to scream and listen to loud music. It's not my ideal way to spend a night off. I wouldn't prefer going to babysit the disobedient kids that pull my hair and fight with each other- reading a book in my room sounds so much more pleasant. Love is so hard.

I have so many dreams and passions. I want to write books. I want to speak to the nations. I want to travel the world and bring the gospel to unreached people groups. I want to change the planet. But I don't want to spend too much time in a room full of elementary kids. Hmmm....

1 Corinthians 13:1-3, 8-10~
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.

Take another look at all those different opinions on love at the beginning one more time. The romantic definitions, the biological definitions, the obsessive definitions- if that's love, if that's what will last when all else fades... what's the point? Let's look at God's definition of love, shall we?

John 13:34-35~
A new commandment I give to you, that you love
one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
By this, all people will know that you are my disciples,
if you love one another.

And take a good long, hard look at Romans 13:10
Love does no harm to its neighbor. 
Therefore it fulfills the requirements of the law.

Love. Love fulfills the requirements of God's law. Always. Not having knowledge or wisdom, not talent or gifts, not working hard or serving others. These things are all good- but if they are done without love, they are worthless. Let that sink in. It's sinking in for me. I'm thinking of the hours I spend working to earn money instead of spending time with my family. I'm thinking of the hours I spend studying on my own instead of helping classmates who are struggling. These are the things I deem so important. And right now, they are all worthless without love. Worthless. It's kind of like that magic penny. It really isn't worth anything until you spend it- or give it away... right?

1 Corinthians 13:13~
Three things will last forever- faith, hope, and love-
and the greatest of these is love.