A little over a year ago, Cody and I hopped a plane, taxi, bus, then finally a dug-out canoe to visit my brother Alan who was living in a remote village in Panama working as a Peace Corps Volunteer. We had a wonderful few days in the village, interacting with the kids and my brother’s friends using the international language of smiling & waving, along with the little Spanish left over from high school, yes so mostly smiling and waving.
With our verbiage stripped away from us, other points of communications rang clear. Whenever we entered a home, the host immediately offered us a half dozen oranges and a large knife to slice them with. They might not have oil for the lanterns, but they had purchased a new skirt for me, bracelets, necklaces, and food galore. The treasures from that trip still astound me. Even more astounding was their willingness to give it all to the sister of the new boy in their village. As they lavished gifts upon me, I could see how much they cared for my brother.
In The 5 Love Languages, Gary Champan recalls a similar experiences in his travels, even points out that anthropologists believe gifts have been a primary way of showing love, respect, and adoration throughout time and across the globe. We even see the giving of gifts as an important part of scripture, with the magi greeting their new Lord with thoughtful precious gifts.
However, we are encouraged to think beyond the wrapping paper and bows to the heart of a good gift: the thought behind it. A desire for good gifts is not a short coming or our materialistic selves, but the potential to serve as a physical evidence of the love you share for one another. Often the best gift you can give your spouse is the gift of oneself. To support, encourage, and lift them to the rare true love that Christ promises to his beloved, only there will we find a joy that overflows.
Before you evaluate your most recent anniversary present or the last time you received flowers from your mate, remember that we do not look to these lists of attributes to define us or our love for one another. We know that God has something much richer than that for us! However, we look to these various forms of communicating love because our ability to love as Christ has loved should be our defining characteristic among us Christians.
My prayer for you is to recognize that while God has set apart the marriage relationship from all others, that only Christ promises a love that can fill us until our cup runneth over.