A friend from our church family sends birthday greetings with this verse: ‘Happy Birthday to you, to your Savior be true, everyday read your Bible, Happy Birthday to you!’ Obediently, I’m reading my Bible at Luke chapter 10. A high-and-mighty religious leader comes to Jesus to test Him, put Him off-balance with this loaded question– ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’
Without hesitation, Jesus tells him to love the Lord with all you are and have, and your neighbor as yourself. Jesus’ answer comes from the Old Testament. Nothing new…but rarely acted upon. I like what our good friends, Jack and Maggie Littler, from Australia, wrote to us–‘what this sorry world needs is lots of L…O…V…E!’ Agreed! More importantly, Jesus would say ‘amen’!
Luke chapter 10. ‘What must I do?…’ Jesus puts His finger on the pulse. First, love the Lord. Without this starting point, everything else goes awry. Loving God means telling Him that…and meaning it by obeying Him. Following Him. Letting Him take the lead.
But there’s more. The part about loving neighbors. Pretty obvious, isn’t it? But, we’ve had neighbors who made our lives miserable. To love them involved staying away, avoiding confrontation as best we could, wishing them well, praying for them. More than that would have been reckless and foolhardy. Love doesn’t have to be over-the-top.
Then Jesus mentions loving self. Here’s one we’re good at, without even trying! Focusing inward. Navel-gazing. The unholy trinity of ‘me, I, and myself’. Not what Jesus means.
First things first! Love the Lord. Our goal in life is to glorify Him. To cherish Him above all. Not to the exclusion of neighbor and self. But He’s primary. Not for His ‘goodies’, but for Him. When we love Him, we can’t help but care about those around us. Neighbors–near and far. Loving ourselves? When the first and second are properly aligned, this one will not be too far out-of-whack. Always have to work at it, like jugglers and plate-spinners in the circus, not wanting any to fall and break.
Thanks, church friend, for the good reminder: ‘every day read your Bible’. And Jack and Maggie, that love is so needed by us and the whole world. I’m thankful for good friends and the Great Friend of all who trust in Him, the Love of our lives…forever!
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for all the love you have for us. We love you and want to share you with those near us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.