I’ve been privileged to serve God as a Pastor for 42 years and a hospital chaplain for seven years. I was called to Deer Creek Baptist Church in June of 2014. God has blessed me with opportunities to earn a Bachelor of Sacred Literature with Ozark Christian College, Joplin, MO; Master of Divinity with Lincoln Christian Seminary, Lincoln, IL; Level I and Level II Units of Clinical Pastoral Education, Fort Wayne, IN; and additional credits at Tulsa Junior College, Tulsa, OK. I also currently work with Calvert-Metzler Funeral Home in Bloomington, IL.
VALENTINE’S DAY: PAST AND PRESENT
The Roman Empire played a big part in the world in the beginning of the church. What does the Roman Empire and Valentine’s Day have in common?
The city of Rome grew from a small village to become a great walled city. The Roman empire, at one time, ruled basically most of what is now Europe. As the Roman empire spread, the
conquering forces brought the Roman culture, customs, and holidays with them.
The populace of what is now England began celebrating many of these Roman holidays. England, back then, had some unusual customs and traditions of their own that were added to it. In
the month of February, Partridges and blackbirds build their nests around the time of Valentine’s Day. Of course, this was all in preparation for having a family with baby birds. That
is where the most interesting part comes into play.
We think of love and marriage on Valentine’s Day today and then. On this special day then, women would use magic spells and charms to figure out who they would be marrying. If there is any
value to this, we might get our divorce rate in our country to go down. There are several examples known, but space will only allow one today.
If a woman wanted a husband, she would circle the church on St. Valentine’s eve at midnight. She would scatter a handful of hempseed and chant, “I sow a hempseed, Hempseed I sow, He that
loves me best, Come after and mow.” The next step is critical. She would have to run home, peek over her shoulder to see if a man would be following her. If so, it was believed
that they would be married before the end of the year.
We may snicker and laugh at what we probably consider foolishness of the past but at least it gets us thinking about how do we choose a mate? For the Christian, at least part of the
strategy involves what would be best when considering a mate. It is written, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do rightness and wickedness have in common? Or
what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (I Corinthians 6:14).
There usually is no stronger human “yoking” than marriage in a lifetime. That “yoking” can turn out to be your worst nightmare or a constant blessing bringing fulfillment and bliss.
Verse 15 also says, “What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?” This truly can make all the difference in the world. It should not be said that all marriages where one
spouse is an unbeliever cannot work, but sometimes that all depends on what sacrifices the believer is making to keep it together.
A message, although not on marriage, recently included the use of different sizes of pitchers. I said that people are as happy as they know how to be, but they don’t’ know how to be very
happy. They carry their happiness in a small pitcher, but it is the biggest pitcher that they have right now. The same principle can apply when a believer is yoked with an
unbeliever. How much more could their marriage and satisfaction be if they were both active believers? They could be getting a bigger pitcher because their little pitcher is
That brings up the issue of guarantees and warranties at least in my mind. It always seems to amaze me how easily you can purchase an additional guarantee or warranty on so many things you
take to the cash register these days. The latest was an offer for a $19 baby walker. WOW! I’m wondering if it was for the bells, lights, and whistles of the apparatus or a guarantee
the baby could walk within two months or so? Are there any guarantees and warranties for love in marriage? Perhaps with the cost of some weddings for parents, there should be but
there is none. That is true for even Christian marriages where both are believers.
I was recently thinking about “odds” though when someone handed me a winning $20 lottery ticket that could be cashed in for the offering plate. I turned it in with a sealed envelope to the
treasurer in the offering plate. I wondered what he thought. I had fun with it imagining since he had to cash it in somewhere. Perhaps we should approach choosing a marriage partner
considering the odds. Choosing a believer for a believer would certainly seem to improve the odds of a successful marriage.
Everyone wants to be happily married. That is a childhood dream. What you don’t want is for one to be happy and the other “just” married. If you peek back to see if anyone is following to determine a spouse, maybe you should find out first about being a believer.