Love Bouquets

“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 have love for one another.” “Let love be genuine… Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” “Through love serve one another.” “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly.” “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” John 13:34-35; Romans 12:9-11; Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 4:8; 1 John 4:7

The first bouquet was a text, words from a friend hundreds of miles away that bathed me with blessing and loving affection. Then flowers arrived for a colleague, a bright splash of fragrance and color from a friend, simply to celebrate her and cheer her day. The third was a ride to the hospital, companionship, and care to a loved one in a new city, from a friend who said, ‘friends don’t let friends go to the hospital alone.’ Love bouquets come in different styles and forms, but are all palpable gifts that sweeten our moments with the deep sense of being loved, not only by the giver, but by God Who plants the thought and prompts them to tell us so in a myriad of ways.

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Jesus loved best, in laying down His life for us, and continues in irrepressible, wide love today as He abides with us, sides with us, and intercedes for us. Loving others well means grasping the way Jesus loves, and practicing with the same generosity, compassion, and whole-hearted abandon He did. It means saying ‘no’ to self and selfish desires to say ‘yes’ to what someone else wants. It means relinquishing personal ambition and instead, making it my ambition to serve and love others. It means preferring others, taking active interest in their lives, weeping and rejoicing with them, going out of my way to bless their days. It may look like a care package to a young mother with sick children, a note, a spoken prayer, a meal, or even flowers. (John 15:13; Romans 8:31,34;  12:15; Philippians 2:3-4; John 3:16)

This is counter-cultural. Love bouquets are things we are taught to pick and arrange and spend money on to mollify our stresses or irritations, to pamper ourselves, so to prepare and deliver them to others is a rare and glorious gift that brings heaven’s balm into the ordinary. The ways of God are different from ours, often viewed as subversive and antithetical to the self-sufficient ways of the world. But as Christians we have the privilege of injecting His beauty into dark and arid places to display Who He is and how He loves. When someone sees the flowers and asks their reason, we can prod them to higher thinking, to the Source of genuine love. (Isaiah 55:8; 1 John 4:8)

Have I recognized and thanked God for the love bouquets He’s lavished on me? What am I doing to arrange and deliver them to those in my path? When I offer myself as a conduit of the Savior’s love, He will direct me to spread it abroad to the blessing of others.

Lord Christ, love through me, and so show forth Your greatest gift to the world.

 

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