Love: The Greatest Commandment
Why is this so complicated?
Why is this so complicated, so difficult? It isn't supposed to be this hard.
If a child can see it...
I have written page after page after page of Christian writings. Trying to get across some idea, some concept, some hope that there can be some sense made of all this.
But... where is the sense?
You tell me... I still haven't found it myself.
What is the missing link? What golden, magical factor eludes me? What precious piece of the grand puzzle is missing? Just one tiny, little sawed-off bit of color, waiting to be found, to be inserted at the right place, at the right time, to bring the dreary, drab canvas to life. To burst forth in brilliant colors, too fantastic to imagine. Overflowing with sounds too exquisite to comprehend, to compare, to remember.
Why am I telling you all this? Did the peanut butter sandwich I just ate give me a boost of energy? Or is God's Spirit trying to get through to me? And to you through me.
What sense, logic, or reasoning could be behind all this? Is this just a charade or grand facade? What's the point? Where is the relevancy? The meaning? The purpose? The goal?
If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times. Listen. Listen to your heart. Listen to God's Spirit. This is all the instruction you need. All the guidance you require.
Why make such a big deal out of everything? Why can't you just leave well enough alone? Pick. Pick. Pick. God? Why won't they leave me alone! Precious Jesus, I do what they tell me. I follow their rules better than they do themselves. Where is this all going? Where is this all leading?
Home. That's where this is all leading. Home is where your heart is.
What lives in your heart?
What lives in your heart? Your home?
Is your heart just asphalt to pave the way for others to take advantage of you? Advantage? Who is taking advantage of me?
The church. It's very plain to see. Very plain to me now. It wasn't before. But it is as clear as fresh spring water. No cloudiness or impurities to obscure the vision.
Why have I wasted all these years collecting men's garbage in my head? And in my heart...
I was a precious little child waiting to be loved by the world. Really, to be loved by my fellow Brothers and Sisters in Christ. By the Body of Christ. Did it ever happen? Ha! What do you think? Would I be here writing this if I really were a functioning part of a well-oiled piece of machinery? (Oops! No comment.)
No! I am dysfunctional just like the rest of you.
Not how it has to be
This is how it has been. But it is NOT how it has to be now and forever.
What can we do about it? What chance do we have?
There is hope.
I have great news for you!
I tell you what. Just give me five minutes of your time and see for yourself. Five minutes. Is that too much is ask? You waste that much time at the water cooler telling a joke. You can spare the time for me. Actually, for yourself.
Why do I say "for yourself"?
The greatest commandments
Matthew 22:35-40 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
Aren't you tired of trying to live up to the expectations of people who, well, aren't necessarily worthy of pulling your strings, doling out a thousand lists of do's and don'ts and a million contradictory, useless theories? What purpose do all these lists and theories serve? They keep us tied up in knots so that we are not free to love as we should love. They keep us busy doing things that don't matter. They put up a smoke screen that blocks us from seeing the obvious.
What is the obvious? These two commandments above are more important than all the manuals and documentation modern man is accumulating to run our lives. Spinning our wheels on this head knowledge is not allowing us to find and know true freedom through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Yes, love cannot be coded into book learning or encrypted into computer storage for safe keeping. You don't save it. You don't store it. YOU SHARE IT! How bizarre is that! We are supposed to SHARE God's great love for us with other people so they too can know the same great love we so cherish and depend on.
So why did I ask if you can spare the time for yourself? Didn't you catch the part about loving your neighbor AS yourself? I always thought that meant that you aren't mean to yourself, so don't be mean to your neighbor. But what it really means is you are commanded to love your neighbor AND you are commanded to love yourself!
Wow! This is really getting out of hand here! Is there something even more radical than loving yourself?
There is a new kind of religion out. It is called "Jesus theology". Instead of studying man to make a worthless definition of religion... Try this. What about a religion based on JESUS! Now there's a novel thought.
Let's quit building Christianity around men. They build their theology upon whatever it will take to make them look good, or on any other thing the church may wish to manipulate its members into believing and doing.
Jesus theology. Hey! Let's put the "Christ" back in being a Christian!
I know I have rambled. Sometimes something just comes over me. And the words are just there, bubbling up from inside like a fountain that cannot run dry.
Receive the Kingdom of God like a little child.
Mark 10:13-24 People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.
The disciples thought that they had been trained well enough by Jesus that they had a pretty good idea how to run things. However, they still had some traditional, cultural short-sightedness. They tried to keep the children away from Jesus because they could not see the significance of this gesture, and thought the children would waste Jesus' time.
If we are to receive the Kingdom of Heaven as a child, it would seem that all the complex mind games must be set aside. Then without the intellectual gyrations, what do you have left? Love. Pure... simple... holy... love. Jesus theology. Just Jesus. Just His love. Just that.
Feed my sheep.
John 21:15-17 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep." The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep.
After Jesus was raised from the dead, He told the disciples to feed His sheep. This included young converts (lambs) and experienced Christians (sheep). Jesus instructed them to not only feed them by offering them the Bread of Life, but to also keep them collected, guided, and overseen. Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him. Jesus referred to the type of love that is supreme and perfect. However, Peter answered by saying he does love Jesus, but only affectionately, as in friendship.
I am confused as to what the disciples thought their role was in establishing the Christian church. Jesus told Peter if he loved Him (supremely, perfectly), he would feed His sheep. But since Peter answered that he loved Jesus only affectionately, where did that leave the disciples in terms of their responsibility or commitment to lead the church in its infancy?
Jesus took the children in his arms and blessed them.
Jesus "took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them". This is what the disciples tried to stop. They tried to separate the children from Jesus. Like the disciples, many churches today are short-sighted. They try to keep God's children away from Jesus. They try to separate God's children from Jesus. The church puts up roadblocks between us and Jesus.
As with the disciples, sometimes today's church does not understand what its commitment should be to the members of the congregation. Or the church does not have a supreme, perfect love for its members. The church either thinks of its flock in simple friendship, or it is using its members to fill its own agenda.
So, what do you think? How did the five minutes go?
Do things still seem so complicated?
Just dive in!
You sit and justify both sides of the issue until you can't make up your mind. Might as well be sitting beside a swimming pool, "too cold, too cold," you say every time you stick your toe in the water. Just dive in, and be surprised at life!