“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’No other commandment is greater than these.” – Mark 12:30-31.
There was a sign at a local business that said, “Keep Things Simple.” That sign is a reminder to all who see it to not make so complicated that you lose perspective. Jesus was all about making things simple. He spelled it out for us when he responded to the religious scholar that tried to catch him in a trap. Only two things are important in this life: Love God. Love others. That’s it.
Not how much my net worth is. Not how much I give to charity. Not how many friends I have. Not how popular I am. Just to love God and love others. It may not be easy but it is uncomplicated. The greatest demonstration of the fact that we are Christians is that we love one another.
In 1 Corinthians 13, we have first a description of a man who does not possess love. The Apostle Paul says, “If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1).
In other words, suppose I could speak with the oratory of Martin Luther King Jr? Suppose I could sway a nation like Winston Churchill. Suppose I could speak with the conviction of Nelson Mandela, or speak the language of love like Mother Teresa. Suppose I could sing opera like Luciano Pavarotti or sing the national anthem like Whitney Houston. Suppose I could speak 57 languages like New Zealand journalist Harold Williams all at the same time. The Bible says all that is nothing unless I have this divine, supernatural love that God gives.
The apostle goes on to write, “If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:2). I could be a genius who solves math problems believed to be impossible to solve. I could process information faster than what is thought to be humanly possible. I might know the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, but if I had not loved, it would mean absolutely nothing in the sight of God.
I might be a man of great faith. The Bible says that is absolutely nothing unless my faith is tempered with love. I could be a man of great charity. The Bible says, “If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:3) God says it is nothing unless I am filled with the love of God.
Wow, the individual described in the last few paragraphs is truly extraordinary. This mythical person has it all, faith, eloquence, knowledge, power, charity, and commitment, but the Bible says they are absolutely nothing without love.
That shows you just how much stock God puts in love.
- What are some truths we need to be reminded of in order to love others?
- What resources (money, gifting, time, etc.) are you using to love God and love others?
- How does loving God first change how you would love yourself? How does loving yourself change how you would love your neighbor? How can we help each other in this?