The Great Commandment. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbour as you love yourself. It sounds so simple. But it is quite difficult to live out. I have often been reminded in my own life about how well, or not, I am living out this commandment. Even as you read these two chapters, consider that Jesus’ issues with the Pharisees and Sadducees stem from the fact that they do not live our this commandment.
I don’t know how to live this out perfectly. I don’t know anyone that is. And I’m not writing these words to discourage anyone. I am more interested in holding up these words from Jesus and saying: “What a high, lofty, compelling and glorious goal for us!” Is it an easy goal? No. Is it attainable in it’s fullness? No. But can you think of a more fulfilling pursuit in life?
Yes, it is also true that pursuing this commandment will be costly. But when was the last time you chased after something valuable that wasn’t costly in some way. Costly in time. Costly in attention. Costly in changing your motivation or perspective or priorities. Chasing after this great commandment will be all of those and maybe even more.
But I can’t help but consider the positive consequences. I read a study today that sought to point out some things that may increase your longevity. It mentioned things like drinking a glass of red wine per day (one glass only mind you) or owning a pet. It also mentioned that volunteering to actively help others and having a purpose in life both add to longevity. Having a positive outlook and maintaining good social contacts, also lead to increased longevity. Pursuing this great commandment accomplishes some of those things. It gives us a reason to live, a purpose that is bigger than ourselves. It encourages us to love others in the say God loves us. It commands us to reach out to neighbours, even in the simple way of just being social. And, perhaps most of all, it encourages us to
Am I saying that living out this great commandment will increase your life expectancy? I’m not sure. But I am reminded that Jesus said “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Following this great commandment definitely plays into Jesus’ “life to the full” plan.
- What was familiar from this passage of scripture? What was something I already knew?
- What was new from this piece of scripture? What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
- Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
- How does this passage apply to my life, here and now? Do I need to do anything about it?
- What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?
Tomorrow’s Reading: Matthew 23; Luke 20-21