“Christ’s love has moved me to such extremes. His love has the first and last word in everything we do.” 2 Corinthians 5:14 (MSG)
I was headed to Costco.
I needed only a few items.
It was a busy day and I had a million things to do before I had to pick up my kids.
At first I didn’t see him.
But because I couldn’t find a parking spot the first time, I had to circle the parking lot again.
That’s when I saw him standing on the corner.
It was cold outside.
He was shivering.
I could read his sign that said, “Hungry.”
And I couldn’t ignore the pounding of my heart.
My human side hesitated, “But Lord, I honestly don’t have time today.”
But my spirit ached.
That’s when I felt overcome with emotion.
I stopped, compelled by love.
How are you?
I’m cold, ma’am.
Me too. What’s your name?
Hi Jon, I’m Cindy. I’m headed into Costco. Is there anything I can get you?
A hotdog would be nice.
A hotdog?! That’s it?!
Would you also like something hot to drink?
I would love that!
Well okay then, I’ll be right back!
Buying Jon a hotdog took me over an hour. For a number of reasons.
The lineup was beyond ridiculous – even for Costco.
The hotdog machine broke.
The staff momentarily ran out of buns.
The cash register ran out of change.
On and on the list went.
I just stood there.
Waiting to buy a hotdog.
Compelled by love.
With every minute that passed, Jon’s face flashed through my mind.
How did he end up there?
Does he have a family?
What does he do on a Friday night?
How many people stop for him?
Does he have a favorite movie?
How many hotdogs does he eat?
Then I pictured Jesus.
Hanging on a cross.
The pain He suffered.
The burden He bore.
The inconvenience He chose.
Dying for me, for Jon.
Compelled by love.
I never did get my groceries that day, but who cares. Jon is what mattered.
So today, as you go about your Valentine’s Day, be compelled by love.
Don’t let your love merely be represented by the chocolates you chose, or the flowers you buy, or the dinner dates you book, or the token words you spew.
Let your life be compelled by your love for Christ.
“The great and firm foundation of the spiritual life is the offering of ourselves to God and being subject to his will in all things. We must completely forget ourselves, so that we regard ourselves as an object which has been sold and over which we no longer have any rights. We find all our joy in fulfilling God’s pleasure – his happiness, his glory and the fact that he is our great and only delight. Once we have this foundation, all we need to do is spend our lives rejoicing that God is God and being so wholly abandoned to his will that we are quite indifferent as to what we do and equally indifferent as to what use he makes of our activities.” Jean-Pierre de Caussade
Happy Valentine’s Day, friends.