Dear St. Luke Community,
Commandment is an odd word. At least it is for me. Commands are something masters give their slaves or their genies who live in a bottle in their living room (if you grew up in the 70’s and watched too much TV). In other words, command is a word I’d rather find another word for. What about the word request? Too soft. How about suggested? Nope. How about required? Now we’re getting somewhere. We’re required by God to love God and love neighbor above all else.
In Paul’s letter to the Romans (13:8-14), Paul says all the other commandments are summed up in this word, "Love your neighbor as yourself” (verse 9). The idea being, that if you focus on that one command, the rest of it will take care of itself. This command presumes we love ourselves first, but it means so much more. It means this requirement will come with a sacrifice, because loving another will often require we give something of ourselves in order for God’s justice to be served (Love God).
As a culture our distaste of words like commands has grown alongside our distaste for sacrifices, being obligated or required to put others’ needs first. Serving God will often put us at odds with our own wants. And like children, we too often want what we want and are willing to ignore what’s right, decent and good to get what we want.
If history has taught us anything time and time again, it’s that looking out for number one doesn’t work in the long run, and it’s most certainly not what we’re commanded or created to do. As Christians, we’re commanded to follow Christ's principles of love, not only on Sunday, not only when we’re thinking about personal growth, but in every aspect of our lives. Given these tumultuous times, it’s more important than ever to ask whether we’re acting out of selfishness or whether we are putting our greatest commandment to the test by looking out for (loving) others.
See you Sunday,