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A little love, every day

By Charlie Osewalt | 12 February 2015 | Comments (2)

Image credit: Brandon Christopher Warren

‘Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from a pure heart.’ 1 Peter 1:22

Sian, Catherine, Sara and I were sitting in the office kitchen, eating lunch together. The topic of Valentine’s Day came up. As a sixty-something I am always interested in what twenty-somethings have to say, and especially what their expectations are about dating and marriage.  I am always looking for new courting ideas for my 34 year marriage with Priscilla.

So I was surprised.

I shouldn’t have been. What they all desire is a little act of love, every day.

Sian summarised  their collective view: "I, and most of my friends, don’t want our boyfriends to make a big deal out of one day a year. I would like Steve to be romantic in little ways everyday."

What these young women, what all people, men included, desire is love. Little love, every day. What is a little love? It is when we stop and think about, listen to, pray for, and remember another. It is about stopping our day and being generous in giving to someone else.

This is what Peter is telling the severely persecuted Christian church of the first century. This is how they were to live on a daily basis—with thoughtful love.

In 1 Peter 1:22, two types of love are mentioned: ‘sincere love’ and a ‘deep love.’ Believers in the church were to be sincere, undisguised, honest and truthful with one another, everyday. They were to share their heart breaks; their joys; their sorrows and love, daily with one another. The second type of love the church was to show was an intense love, a deep love. Literally in the Greek it comes from a word which means ‘stretch out the hand’ (ektenos).

St. Valentine's Day began as a liturgical celebration of one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus. They were all martyred and what they all had in common was helping others. They stretched out their hands.

This Valentine’s Day consider giving, as an individual or with your partner, love. Generous love is when we give without expecting anything in return. This could be in the form of an unexpected thank you note or buying a coffee for the person behind you in the queue.

You see, Sian and all those twenty-somethings are right: Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be about one person on one day. Like those martyrs called Valentinus who stretched out their hands daily in intense and deep love celebrate by doing the same.

Stretch out your hands and love.


Want to take part in a generosity movement?

Get involved in the 40acts campaign and commit to small acts of generous love every day during Lent 2015. Sign up at Love a friend, a neighbor, a stranger, another everyday for 40 days. Try a little love. Each day from 18 February 2015 there will be something new, an unexpected act to give out.

Posted by Charlie Osewalt

Charles Osewalt is a husband, father of four children and former elder at Redeemer Church NYC. He has worked in schools for the last twenty years as principal in the Morrisanna section of the Bronx. He formerly worked as a content and curriculum specialist for Stewardship. He tweets at @charlesosewalt



February 13, 2015 7:54 PM
True words - quality!


February 22, 2016 9:16 AM
Introduced to 40Acts by a churchy friend, as a non-faith (and in many ways sceptical and anti faith) person I have been following each day cautiously, but finding many things that resonate. This 'extra' on the blog today has truly lifted my heart. After years of deploring Valentine's and all its commercial, tacky, inauthenticity and unrealistic pressure to perform - on *one* day instead of just loving everyday - I can finally let that sadness/anger go and embrace a new perspective: it's a day meant to highlight community love. I can get on board with that.

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