KOEDYKER: Love is still the greatest

Being a romantic at heart and also realizing that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, I stopped by a video store the other day to pick up a good “chick flick” to watch with my wife.
Feb 10, 2013


The one I chose was an older movie called “50 First Dates,” starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore.

I had seen it years ago and all I could remember was that it was funny. How could it not be, with Adam Sandler in it?

What I didn’t remember is that the movie is actually quite profound. And it didn’t hit me until the very end of the movie.

You see, in the movie, a young man by the name of Henry falls in love with a young lady by the name of Lucy. Henry doesn’t realize it right away, but Lucy had been in a car accident and had suffered a head injury. It left her with a short-term memory loss problem. Every night, all memory of her day would be erased. She would get up in the morning and not remember a single thing about the day before.

Obviously, this proposed quite a challenge for young Henry, who was head over heels in love with her. What he ended up doing — with great determination — was making her fall in love with him every day. Every day he would find a new and interesting (and often amusing) way of making her fall in love. Each and every day, by his loving acts, he would remind her of how much he loved her.

To me, that was profound, because that should really be our aim every day. Whether it is for our spouse, our neighbor or our work associate, we should be proving to them every day our love, respect and care for them.

When put on a spiritual level, it is also true. In the pages of the Bible, God shows us over and over again that he loves us. He proves his love to us every day by his words of encouragement from the Bible, his blessings, his provisions and most of all, his faithfulness and forgiveness.

One of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century was the Swiss theologian Karl Barth. Toward the end of his career, Barth did a series of lectures in America at Princeton and the University of Chicago. At one of those lectures, he was asked the question, “Of all the theological insights you have ever had, which would you consider to be the greatest of all?”

This was a remarkable question to ask a man who had written tens of thousands of pages of some of the most sophisticated theology ever put on paper. The students sat with their pens ready. They wanted to jot down every word that the great doctor of theology would speak.


Barth is said to have closed his eyes and thought for a few moments — then he smiled, opened his eyes and said to the young seminarians, “The greatest theological insight is this — Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

Barth was right, of course. The greatest thought that could ever come into our minds would have to be that God loves us. God, who is good and perfect and righteous in all things loves us.

And the amazing thing is that God loves us despite the fact that we do not always love Him. In fact, we ignore Him, disobey Him, and even spurn His love. And yet, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

Love is still the greatest thing ever.  Paul the apostle says in I Corinthians 13 (appropriately called “the Love Chapter”), that “love never fails.” And he concludes that chapter by saying, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

I hope you celebrate love this month. But really, it is something that must be done each and every day. As God shows us his love each day, I hope you show it to someone each day, too. What a different world we would have if, instead of trying to prove that we are right, we lived in a way that proved our love.

— By the Rev. John Koedyker, pastor of Word of Hope Church in Fruitport.



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