Matthew 22:36-40 “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
Much of the world today is mired in a barrage of information. So much so, that to discern what is necessary and what is just noise becomes an almost full-time job. Those able to clear their line of sight and obtain focus on their goals are the ones who live by principle and apply those principles to everything they do.
Jesus laid bare to one who asked Him just what his focus should be. Our passage today is Jesus’ response. Many messages have been preached, and lessons taught on this truth, but this morning; I just have a few thoughts.
When we look at a task given that is seemingly ominous, detailed, or even fearfully impossible; we shy away at first, but then try to break it down into sizable chunks to accomplish the whole. But that wasn’t the case here.
The one asking was a lawyer – we ought to be cautious right there – and we are told:
Matthew 22:35 “Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,”
This lawyer was setting Jesus up; to test Him; to try Him – to find fault. Jesus cuts to the quick – He sees the ruse and hits hard at this principle with which all of should apply to our life.
The two principles here, loving God with all my heart, soul, and mind and the second; loving my neighbor as I would desire to be loved. The first is my heart attitude toward my God and the second is the application of it. The first is the most significant relationship I will ever have and the second is the fruit of my life because of that relationship.
Outside of Christianity, the world tells us that man is the one we should love the most and all other subsequent activities are to benefit that axiom. Man is the ultimate decision-maker and makes his own destiny. He lives to be wealthy, well-loved and accepted.
The explosion of social media today has put a laser focus on self. We came up with the term ‘selfie’ to describe pictures taken of what is most important in our life. We post pictures of ourselves, our food, our families, our activities, our homes, our pets and whatever seems to be going on at the moment as if the world should be as focused as we are on what we are posting.
Then, when others do not take notice, or ‘like’ our posts, we are saddened because the desired effect was to gain a sense of self-worth and significance.
Our passage brings the child of God to understand that the place where we are to find our self-worth, our significance, and our love is in our relationship with our Heavenly Father.
When I know I am loved by God, all other relationships take on a lesser significance. Please understand me, this, by no means, lessens the need for our human relationships. Assuredly, they are still significant. But, it put God at the forefront, and He becomes our focus, and it lays the foundation for all other relationships.
Love in action, or the biblical word – charity – is sadly lacking in our homes, our communities, and our churches. Take the time needed today to work on your relationship with God. Clear out the clutter (sin). Set your focus on Him and then find one person with whom you can reveal that love.
It may be we have neglected those closest to us. Our homes should radiate that love. Parents become the greatest hypocrites when they are more loving outside the home than to their spouses and children.
Our neighbors should know us to be different. Not just because we go to church, but because we interact with them in love. We find their needs and try to meet them. We should take an interest in what interests them. Then, God will; as He always does, open the door for opportunities for us to share the gospel with them.
Reading this passage brings back into focus what is truly important.