The Most Important of These

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 “The most important one,” Jesus said, “is this, ‘Here O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.  You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul, with all of your mind, and with all of your strength.’  And the second is this, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no greater command than these.”

Is it surprising to you that Jesus had to make it a command for us to love God and to love people?  Could it not have been merely a strong suggestion or a firm recommendation?  I don’t have to look any further than in the mirror to realize God’s wisdom in making this a command.  I fall so short in the love category, especially when someone is not particularly lovable or unloving.  It takes work to love someone like that, and it takes a conscious decision to love.  I also know that it takes work for people to love me when I am unlovable or unloving.

It’s easy to say that I love God, especially when He can’t be perceived by my natural eyes or ears.  Yet, when He instructs me to do something that I struggle doing, how willing am I to choose loving God by choosing to obey His commands instead of choosing to do what I want?  Loving God and loving people is an active, on-going choice, and it requires discipline and effort.

We, at FPC Bethlehem, have been called to “Know God, Love People, and Serve the World.”  How do you choose to do this?  How are you challenged to love the unlovable and unloving?  In what specific ways can you choose to demonstrate love for your neighbor?

Father, Thank You for loving me when I was unlovable, which is pretty much always. Help me, through Your Spirit, to love You and my neighbor in tangible, life-giving ways. Amen.

About the Author

Bill Freeman is the Interim Director of Discipleship at FPCB, and previously, was the Area Director for Priority One - Lehigh Valley. He has been married to Pat for 40 years, and they have 3 children - Caitlin, Joshua, and Mark - and 4 grandchildren - Esther, Isaac, Bailey, and Zoe.