We just finished Valentine’s Day (or, as some prefer to call it, “Singles Awareness Day”). Whether you celebrated with a significant other or with family, chances are good that you gave at least a card or gift to someone else and that they shared the same with you.
Chances are also good that most people in our country did the same. The National Retail Federation (NRF) studies holidays like this to try to project earnings. For 2020, those who planned to celebrate Valentine’s Day said they expected to spend an average of $196.31, up a significant 21% from last year’s previous record of $161.96.
But the NRF had an even more surprising statistic to share this year. According to its website, “Twenty-seven percent say they will buy Valentine’s gifts for their pets, the highest figure in the history of the survey and up from 17% in 2010 for a total $1.7 billion.” The average spending per pet was projected at $12.21.
At Awe Star, we’re not anti-Valentine’s Day. We bought candy and other gifts for our families and friends, too. But there’s something wrong with a world where we can’t reach out to help people in need, but we can spend $1.7 billion on Valentines for our pets.
Of course, we already know what’s wrong with the world. When your life doesn’t center on Christ, your priorities easily spin in wrong directions. You value the things of the world more than the things of God. Sending a $7 Valentine card or a $75 flower arrangement matters more to you than meeting the needs of the family who can’t afford school lunches or monthly rent.
The real problem comes when we claim to follow Christ, but our priorities look more like the world’s. No wonder both Old and New Testaments place so much emphasis on following only the one true God. In the Old Testament, God’s people struggled with worshiping the idols of the surrounding nations. These were made of wood, stone or even precious metal (remember Aaron and the golden calf?).
In the New Testament, the idols looked different. Jesus clearly showed the rich young ruler that his wealth was an idol (Matt. 19:16-30, Mark 10:17-31, Luke 18:18-30). Even the praise of men can become an idol (John 12:43). In other words, the New Testament takes the concept of idolatry from a physical object to anything other than God upon which we set our mind’s attention and heart’s affection, or worship.
Whether you’re on the going or giving side of missions—or both—we encourage you to consider your priorities. Maybe you didn’t spend hundreds on Valentine’s Day or give your pet an expensive treat. But do you have extra time or resources that disappear each month just because they can? Are there causes or opportunities the Lord has laid on your heart that you’ve chosen to ignore? Are you, in effect, worshiping an idol because your affections are set on things other than Jesus and the people He died to save?
You can show your love by giving Valentines, sure. But you can also show your love by declaring God’s message of love across the globe (see our trip offerings here). And you can help others share this love (make a one-time or continuing gift here). What does Jesus want? When you surrender your heart to Him, He directs your priorities. Do yours reflect Him?
“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13).