January 2, 2019
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
From Our “Here”…
It’s no secret that companies look for the necessary educational backgrounds and personal skills when considering job applications. Customers and clients expect no less. Who wants to be in a hospital that hires doctors and surgeons without needed training? Who would take their car to a shop where the mechanics have never popped a hood?
The same holds true among churches and ministry organizations. Congregations expect a pastor to have a solid biblical education. Donors demand accountability from nonprofits they support, and that includes assurances that missionaries or other personnel are properly trained and can serve with needed skill sets.
But to truly serve others requires more than knowledge and experience.
Jesus explained that all of life boils down to (1) loving God with every ounce of your being and (2) loving people as yourself.
“All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments,” He said (Matthew 22:40).
All of the commandments, beatitudes, fruit of the Spirit, proverbs, prohibitions and promises you glean from God’s Word to establish the framework for your existence point back to and are built upon Jesus’ two commandments.
And those same two realities must be the foundation of anything and everything you would accomplish as Christ’s follower.
…To God’s “There”
When you read about or listen to missionaries who serve in remote or challenging places around the world, you might get the impression they fulfill their tasks thanks to a long list of personal qualifications. In contrast, your own abilities can feel inadequate. It’s inspiring when God uses men and women in Bible translation or refugee outreach or addiction intervention or orphan care. But if you’re not careful you can begin to believe you have nothing to offer.
Perhaps your personal experience in sharing your faith has not yet grown beyond the walls of your Sunday School class or church sanctuary. That doesn’t limit God. Jesus’ summary of God’s standard for living reminds us that everything we do in obedience to the Lord should be motivated by our love for Him and our love for others. Stop and think about it. When you love God and others with abandon, you are perfectly positioned to discern how best to connect God with others who have yet to discover His love for them. Often, how you show love to those around you will create opportunities to talk about your relationship with Jesus.
Making the Leap
God responds to our love for Him by revealing to us an ever-expanding vision of His plan for our lives. Over time, our spiritual gifts and fruit become evident and steadily mature. As we commit to uncompromising love, God will be faithful to point us to people near and far who need a Savior.