Love God, Love People
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
Matthew 22:37, 39 NLT
In Matthew chapter 22, the religious leaders were trying to trap Jesus with “gotchya” questions intended to discredit him. With each one, Jesus responds with words that have taught everyone who has read or heard them the truth of God.
The chapter begins with the story of a king inviting the people of influence to a wedding banquet. People are refusing to come. The king instructs his staff to go invite anyone from anywhere. This Kingdom wedding banquet is available to anyone for any reason. One criteria, come dressed for a wedding. The message is clear: Fill this banquet up with anyone who wants to be part of my kingdom, regardless of position, class, or social status.
This story is followed up by challenges on taxes and resurrection.
The last challenge question is, “What is the greatest commandment?” Jesus responds with absolute clarity: Love God with everything you got. Love people as you love yourself.
Jesus places these two commandments side by side in importance, yet in a specific order as it relates to sequence. God first. People second. Both are incredibly important.
A little life experience has shown me why God must be first. It is easy to lose our way in relationships with people when we are not rooted in God and His truth. Being connected with God is being connected at the core with who we are made to be. We are made in the image of God. We are designed to be in relationship with God. He is the creator. God is our Savior through Jesus Christ. God is truth constantly revealed through the Holy Spirit. God is love consistently expressed through God the Father.
Yes, love God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit with everything we have.
Love people as we love ourselves. As we embrace our identity in Christ that is filled with forgiveness, void of condemnation, and transformed into a new way of living, we love people as we love ourselves. We move from being selfish to being selfless. We give our lives away to others gladly so that they may know God through Jesus Christ.
Do you know how Matthew 22 ends? Jesus asks the religious leaders a question: “Who’s son is the Messiah?”
Everyone is invited to answer Jesus’ question. Loving God and loving people is made possible only through Jesus Christ, God’s Son.
Encouragement: Embrace Jesus as God’s Son today. Receive the Holy Spirit and be guided into all truth. Love God. Spend time with God. Learn and know the Scriptures. Love people. Unconditionally. Love generously.
Prayer: Dear Father God, thank you for inviting us to the banquet. Thank you for clear guidance on taxes. Thank you for helping us understand the resurrection. Thank you for inviting us into what is most important. We declare our love for You. Let us show our love by time spent with You. We declare our love for others. Let us show our love by our actions of kindness, truth and generosity towards others.
In Jesus name we pray,
-Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center