Thursday, May 30, 2024
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The Value Of Giving Love Away

Photo courtesy of Brandon Warren via Flickr
Photo courtesy of Brandon Warren via Flickr

A question we often encounter as singles—whether from our own minds or from well-meaning friends—is when will we ever find love?

Of course, all of us need love in some form or another, and sometimes it feels like it can be hard to find. But perhaps just as important as the need to receive love is the human and Christian need to give love. God has filled us as Christians with His love, and those who have His love should have an urge to show that love to others as well. And while love sometimes seems hard to come by, I’ve recently been finding that there are plenty of ways to find love by giving it out, even as a single.

Loving those younger than you

For me personally, I often think about giving love in relation to children or students younger than myself. I’ve sometimes said, half-jokingly, that I want to be a father more than I want to be a husband. This is because I’ve grown somewhat disillusioned with romantic relationships after several unsuccessful attempts, so my feelings on marriage tend to be iffy at best. But despite my ambivalent feelings toward romance, I still always love children—and, for me, “children” includes a wide age range, from little kids at church to the college freshmen I worked with as a graduate teaching assistant. For me, those young ones are my ministry, whether I’m teaching them God’s Word or encouraging them to do their best in academics. The children’s ministry and the classroom are two of my main places to give out love at this stage in my life.

I was recently talking about this to my friend, another single 20-something. I said, “Yeah, I love kids, but I’m not gonna be having any of my own anytime soon.” Then I added, half-jokingly, “So I guess that’s why I’m going into teaching instead. It just seemed like the next best option.” While, of course, my students in the classroom aren’t my own children, they may be the closest thing to children that I have at this stage of my life, and I value the opportunity to invest in their lives and hopefully impact them in a positive way. I guess that’s why I make an effort to pray for my students by name each week throughout the semester, or why I like to bake them cookies at the end of the year. My friend, who is a manager at a Christian bookstore, said that she views her staff employees in somewhat the same way as I view my students. She feels the urge to take care of her staff and make sure their lives are filled with good things. Even across very different job fields, it turns out that both of us have a group of younger people under our supervision whom we want to watch over and care for. We both find ways in our jobs to minister to others and to give love when we can.

Loving people around you 

Of course, giving love isn’t limited just to children or to those in positions lower than ourselves. There are lots of opportunities, for me and for you, and chances are that they’re not too hard to find if you look around at wherever life has placed you for the time being. If you’re not sure where or how to give love, then ask yourself (and ask God), Where is my sphere of influence? Who around me needs love the most? Or maybe, Where can I get involved to reach the most people? Whether you’re an encourager to friends in need, or working a job that lets you help others, or serving at church or through the community, you can still “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17) to His service and the service of others around you. No matter where you are, there are plenty of ways to show God’s love to people who need it.

Also, even when serving others, I have to check my motives sometimes. I have to make sure that, when I serve or “give love,” I’m doing it because I truly desire to serve God and bless others, and not just to fulfill some emotional need in my own life. Admittedly, the line between those two extremes can be hard for me to discern at times. I do believe that showing love to others is a spiritual, emotional, and psychological need—something that, as a Christian and a member of human society, I feel compelled to do. And I believe that showing love in these ways brings me emotional and spiritual benefits. But I also know that God has commanded Christians to show love in whatever ways they can, that it is the right and godly thing to do (Galatians 6:9-10). And even if my motives are partially for my own benefit, I believe that God still uses me and can show love through me in a number of different ways. If I’m obedient to God and willing to serve, then He gradually works on me to make me more and more selfless while showing me ways that I truly can bless others.

Singleness is often a time of looking for love, but that doesn’t have to be a hopeless search. Often, we find the most fulfilling kinds of love when we’re giving love out to others. By seeking to love others selflessly, being open to God’s leading, and looking for opportunities wherever they may be found, we as christian singles with a lot of love to give can make a big difference with this stage of our lives.

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