Stewardship Challenge 2016
Week Four- Love, Marriage and Dating
For the next two weeks we will look at dating/date night or singles night.
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching so let’s look at ways you can make this special whether you are single or married. First of all, let’s look at the beginning of Valentine’s Day and the meaning behind it.
Approximately 250 years after Jesus was born in Bethlehem, there was a priest by the name of Valentine. He lived in Rome. At that time, Claudius was the Emperor of Rome. Some people called him Claudius the Cruel. St. Valentine didn’t like Emperor Claudius, and he wasn’t the only one! Many people felt the same way. Claudius wanted a big army. He thought men should volunteer to join. Many men just did not want to leave home and go off to fight in wars. They did not want to leave their girlfriends and wives. So, not many men volunteered for the Roman army. This made Emperor Claudius very angry. He had a crazy idea that if men were not married, they would be more inclined to join his army. So Claudius decreed that there would be no more marriages. Young people thought his new law was really cruel. Valentine thought it was ridiculous! One of his favorite duties as a priest was to marry people. After Emperor Claudius passed his law, Valentine kept on performing marriage ceremonies – but secretly. He would whisper the words of the ceremony, while listening for soldiers on the steps outside.
One night, Valentine did hear footsteps at his door. The couple he was marrying escaped, but he was caught. He was thrown in jail and told that his punishment was death. St. Valentine tried to stay cheerful. Many young people came to the jail to visit him. They threw flowers and notes up to his window. They wanted him to know that they, too, believed in love. One of these young people was the daughter of the prison guard. Her father allowed her to visit him in his cell. They often sat and talked for hours. She believed he did the right thing by ignoring the Emperor and performing marriage ceremonies.
On the day Valentine was to die, he left her a note thanking her for her friendship and loyalty. He signed it, “Love from your Valentine.” That note started the custom of exchanging love notes on Valentine’s Day. It was written on the day he died, February 14, 269 A.D. Now, every year on this day, people remember. But most importantly, they think about love and friendship. When they think of Emperor Claudius, they remember how he tried to stand in the way of love, and they laugh — because they know that love can’t be beaten!
Let’s not go through the motions this Valentine’s Day. Life is busy, and it seems so commercialized – sure. But remember why Valentine’s Day exists and it becomes more meaningful.
Let’s take it as an opportunity to consider our spouses an unmeasurable blessing and remind them of their worth. Imagine not being allowed to marry because of persecution! We get to spend valuable time with our husband/wife doing anything we can imagine – dreaming, traveling, laughing, and loving TOGETHER.
Valentine’s Day is a fresh reminder that we are unbelievably blessed to be married. That’s what this holiday has come to mean for me – and it’s plenty of motivation and reason to express my love in creative ways.
Next week we will look at fun and serious ways to express our love if we are single, dating or married. So stay tuned!!
We train individuals, families, churches and groups to befriend this forgotten generation.