Written by: Rev. Nathan Hill
Each year in the month of February I speak about love and dating in the youth ministry that I lead. While the younger students focus more on loving one another as Christ would have us love, we dive head first into relationships with the older students.
Last year, inspired by a book written by Kris Vallotton entitled “Purity”, the main challenge of the night was this: anyone can get something expensive, but it takes sacrifice to get something valuable. To put it more poignantly, anyone can have sex, but it takes sacrifice (and many other things) to experience love and a healthy relationship.
Think of it this way: if I REALLY REALLY wanted an iPad, I could just save up and buy one. Now, I do really want an iPad…but just not bad enough to bump my other priorities. So, in essence, I am sacrificing my iPad to attain other things more valuable (like paying down debts.)
When a sports team fights their way to the finale and eventually earn the title of champion it is not really the trophy that they are after, is it? I was informed this week by a student that the Vince Lombardi Trophy is actually made of platinum whereas the Stanley Cup is only made of silver; even still I doubt the excitement over the Super Bowl is all about platinum versus sterling silver. Instead, a sports team is fighting for the right to say that they had worked hard, achieved their best, beat their opponents and emerged on the top. That is valuable to them; and it took sacrifice to earn it.
Anyone can get something expensive, but it takes sacrifice to get something valuable.
I gave the students several challenges. The first was that they would beat the odds of our culture and achieve relationships that last. I challenged them not to give into immediate satisfaction of their emotional desires but instead to sacrifice that in pursuit of ultimate love. I challenged them to define love less as a feeling in their stomach and more as a decision to make with their heads.
I reminded the students that everyone drops their trophy sometimes; everyone makes mistakes. It takes bravery to pick the trophy back up, dust it off, and carry on in the direction that God has intended for us. If it was easy everyone would do it…but because it takes sacrifice only the brave step up. In the end, however, it is worth it because….anyone can get something expensive, but it takes sacrifice to get something valuable.
Song of Songs 2:7 “…Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.”