Valentine's Day is an occasion to show love, but it's also a time to recognize love that's already been demonstrated. In honor of today, Rich Stearns, president of World Vision U.S., writes about the many ways we show love — to each other and around the world — and how he's inspired again and again by the amazing love of our supporters!
I was on my game this year. A full two weeks ago, I had Valentine’s Day dinner reservations in place at not one but two restaurants — in case I needed a back-up plan. Now, why would I do this?
As any couple knows, Valentine’s Day is about more than just saying “I love you” — it’s about showing our love. In school, children pass out cards. Romantic partners exchange flowers, chocolate, or jewelry. Husbands and wives develop their own traditions, sending each other poetry or perhaps going away for the weekend.
Showing your love, of course, doesn’t have to include doing traditionally romantic things. For some people, cooking a meal, doing yard work, or building a bookshelf can be ways of demonstrating how we feel about someone we love.
It’s the thought that counts, we say. But the thought doesn’t mean much unless we do something to demonstrate it. Love needs to take action in order to be made known.
That is what so many World Vision supporters do; they demonstrate love for people in need every day. While you may be celebrating this Valentine’s Day by picking up flowers and candy, I want to celebrate by thanking you for the love you show to children around the world. You are working with us to build a better world, one in which every child can grow up safe and healthy and able to reach their full potential, knowing the love of God. You are showing what love means.
This is just what the apostle John wrote about:
If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:16-18)
God’s love for us compels us to demonstrate that love to anyone in need. I am so fortunate to see this kind of love at work among World Vision supporters.
Just last week, I received a letter from a child sponsor. She had received a letter from me to our child sponsors asking for extra support. I’m well aware that not everyone appreciates letters like this, so her response genuinely surprised me. “Never stop asking [for money] with shameless audacity,” she wrote. “You are asking on behalf of the global need of people who are just as much God’s beloved children as those of us who have plenty.” She continued, “I will GLADLY increase my pledge, and I will never cease to be a partner to you in caring for God’s beloved.”
I’ll admit, I wasn’t expecting that! But that is love.
Donna Galli is another supporter who demonstrated this kind of love. Several years ago, she was sponsoring a child, but learned through her letters that the child’s mother needed encouragement. “I was the single mother of three children for a long time,” she said, “and I clearly remembered the struggles I had. So I thought the least I can do is let her know that she is valuable and that God loves her.” Over the years, Donna poured out encouragement through letter after letter to an Ethiopian mother. Donna provided extra support at a crucial time and changed the life of a woman halfway around the world.
That is love.
I am constantly inspired by this daily demonstration of love from World Vision supporters. You allow us to share your outpouring of love with others around the world. For so many people living without clean water, adequate food, or economic opportunities, you are making every day a Valentine’s Day.
Pour out your love to children around the world with us. Consider sponsoring a child today!