Monday, February 13, 2023

The Valentines Plant

"Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'" Matthew‬ ‭22‬:‭37‬ ‭WEB‬‬

No, this devotional is not about roses. Instead, it's about the origin of the heart shape that symbolizes the essence of the holiday. Have you ever considered where it came from; after all, it looks nothing like a real heart. The most likely origin is a tiny heart-shaped seed of a plant called silphium.

The plant grew near the ancient North African city of Cyrene and was so vital to their economy that they put its heart shape on their coins. The ancient Greeks and Romans also valued it so much its was worth its weight in gold. Julius Caesar even kept a cache in his treasury.

What was it about this tiny seed that could be worth so much? It provided many products, including perfume and tasty seasoning. It also had medicinal properties. Most famously, romantic partners used it as an oral contraceptive and aphrodisiac to enhance the romantic experience. This is one likely explanation for the heart shape's association with love.

While the heart shape is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible, it reminds us that God has placed symbols of his love in every flower and seed we come across. Often, we are in too much of a hurry to notice. One of the important reminders Valentine's holiday provides is that love requires time. During this season of love, take some time to look for the signs of God's love for you.

Discussion Questions

What can you do to show your love to God?

What is one way you can show God's love to another person?

What symbols of love can be found in the Bible?

Describe the last time you deeply felt God's love.

By David F. Garner
Photo credit: Original book source: Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz 1885, Gera, Germany

Permission granted to use under GFDL by Kurt Stueber