The Greatest Virtue, the Greatest Gift

My wife loves chocolate. My children love chocolate. My wife’s favorite chocolate is Kinder—a bar of rich hazelnut-crisp-based chocolate. “Kinder” is the German for “children.” So, the perfect chocolate gift for the whole family. What does that mean for Valentine’s Day 2021? Kinder chocolates through Amazon in bulk for everyone! My wife is happy. My kids are happy. And I am happy because they’re happy!

“What does a gift of chocolate mean on Valentine’s Day?” I ask my kids the question during our Sunday morning Bible time together.

“It means you love us, Daddy!” And, if it brings a smile to someone’s face—if you can get past the extra calories, sugar, and caffeine—chocolate might just be the best Valentine’s Day gift for the whole family this year.

The gift re-“presents” love. Our most excellent present is God’s love, shed abroad in our hearts through the Cross. The Bible includes several virtue lists. Here is a sampling:

“To act justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8, NIV).

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” (Gal. 5:22, NIV).

“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble” (1 Peter 3:8, NIV).

From this small sampling, from three different biblical authors (Micah, Paul, and Peter), we find that love is kind of important. The recurring virtue is love. Paul drives this point home in his letter to the Corinthian church, leaving little question as to the primacy of the virtue:

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor 13:13, NIV).

God’s greatest gift is love. Today, let us give the gift of love, in whatever form. Perhaps a bulk-order of chocolates, maybe a note to show your affection, a call to tell someone you love them, or anything that brings a smile to someone’s face. In whatever form, see the gift as an opportunity to re-present the love of God in Jesus, God’s one and only Son—the greatest gift of all—who gave himself up for us, so we might extend the same love to one another.

Published by Paul J. Palma

Paul J. Palma is a professor of Christian history and theology at Regent University. He is the author of the books "Embracing Our Roots: Rediscovering the Value of Faith, Family, and Tradition," "Italian American Pentecostalism and the Struggle for Religious Identity" (Routledge Studies in Religion series), and "Grassroots Pentecostalism in Brazil and the United States: Migrations, Missions, and Mobility" (Palgrave Macmillan). He is also a contributing writer for Paul enjoys spending quality time with his family on walks together, going to the beach, fishing, and doing work around the yard.

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