Altar Call – Opelika -Auburn News
February 24, 2008
Walter Albritton

An invitation to upgrade our use of the little word “love”

         Think for a moment about the things that are great fun to you. Your list will likely be different from mine. So let me share a few of the things that come to my mind.
         I enjoy eating out with family and friends. One place is about as good as another. What matters is not the restaurant or the food but the joy of spending time with people who are important to me. I enjoy watching Auburn play football, especially when they win. I also like basketball, baseball, and track. My wife says I am a sports nut, and that must be true because she is always right.
         I like high school sports, especially football. What fun I had serving as the chaplain for the Opelika High School football team. The Bulldogs are still my favorite high school team and Spence McCracken my all-time favorite coach.
         Music is a delight to me. I like to sing and I like to hear other people sing, especially those who can deliver a wonderful song with beautiful harmony.
I enjoy good food, especially fruit, ice cream, and anything chocolate. I like to eat with people at church. After all, Jesus ate with sinners.
         It is fun to relax at the beach and watch the waves roll in from the Gulf. But I like the mountains even more, especially during the fall of the year when the colors of the leaves are changing. Then spring is a good time to visit places like Mentone, Alabama, or Warm Springs, Georgia.
         On a nice Saturday I like walking in the woods and listening to the birds singing. I like patting the head of my grandson Jake's big dog, and thanking the Lord that he owns that dog, not me. My favorite dog is the porcelain dog with the black spots, the one that sits on the hearth and never eats. I just don't think I could handle having to take a dog outside three times a day to find a fire hydrant.
         I like watching my grandchildren play football and basketball. Most of our grandsons are grown now but we still get to watch Jake and Josh play. They play now for Macon-East Montgomery Academy. When football season begins, we will be in the stands cheering them on.
         My wife and I enjoy traveling. We had the privilege of leading a group to visit mission stations around the world. We have walked where Jesus walked in the Holy Land. We have flown by the Alps, ridden a dog sled in Alaska, admired the colorful birds and flora in Costa Rica, and visited the magnificent Taj Mahal in India.
         We have enjoyed meeting people and seeing sights in England, France, Germany, Austria, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Switzerland, Nepal, India, Brazil, Ecuador, Haiti, and Argentina. We even made two trips to Africa after turning 75. We have enjoyed many breathtaking moments in this incredible world of ours.

         Please note that in describing all of the above I did not once use the word "love." That was intentional. I am trying to reserve the use of that word for very special purposes. I want to teach myself to use "love" only to describe the way I feel about the Lord, my family, and my friends.
         This is not an easy thing to do. All my life I have talked, as most people do, about "loving" a truck, a sunset, a dog, or a hamburger. But that is a bad habit I want to change. To “love” everything is actually to cheapen the word “love.”
         While it is all right to “like” football or ice cream, or any of these other things that bring me some degree of joy, I want to save the word "love" for more important things. When I have been crushed by defeat, embarrassed by my sins, perplexed by tragedy, it was the Lord who restored my joy and renewed my hope. So it should really mean something to say that I love him. My family and my friends have meant the world to me. When I tell them how much I love them, I want them to feel that my affection for them is very special.  

         If you like the idea of using the word "love" more carefully, please join me. Even if we don’t change the world, we could give the word "love" fresh meaning in our own lives for a little while. + + +