What do you give to the one you love? My mom used to enjoy telling the story about a birthday gift she received from my dad early in their marriage. The gift? A set of golf clubs. That might sound great except my mom did not play golf and had no plans to. Apparently, dad thought that was a great idea because then she could play golf with him. Let’s just say it did not go over well. It makes me think of the time when I gave Karen a set of cake pans for Valentine’s Day (long story) – not my greatest move.

I’ve been thinking about those “gift fails” in the context of our theme for this school year “New in Christ” based on 2 Corinthians 5:17. Our special subtheme for May is “Receive a new commandment!” Based on John 13:34: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”  What are the key words in that verse? “Just as I have loved you” – those words of Jesus set the standard for us. We are to love others like Jesus loved us. And how did He do that? In a word, sacrificially; Jesus gave up everything for us – His place in heaven with God and then His earthly life so we could be redeemed. Now Jesus commands us to do the same. Whether it’s helping a friend, caring for children, doing household chores, or watching after an elderly relative we must always share love completely and sacrificially with everyone. It’s the greatest gift we can give anyone – and it’s definitely better than cake pans ????