Have you ever thought deeply about the word love? Many people say that God is love, but what does that really mean? As the 19th century evangelist Charles Finney said, "Love is not a special way of feeling." Despite what we see in movies and television and read in books, love isn't about what we're feeling. God loves us—and He does something about it. When we love others we must demonstrate it, too. Let's listen to today's two passages and find out what Jesus has to say about love:
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12)
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.” (Matt. 22:37-40)
These two passages fit together nicely, don't they? In the first, Jesus gives what we sometimes call the Golden rule: "Do unto others what you would have them do unto you." He follows by saying, "This sums up the Law and the Prophets." Amazing, right? The entire Law and the Prophets of the Old Testament can be summed up in that one simple statement. In the second passage, Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is to love God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds. He goes on to say that the second greatest commandment is to love other people as we would love ourselves. Finally, He follows these two statements by saying, "All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." The connection is clear: we are called to love God, of course, but we are also called to love our neighbors. How does that work, practically? Well, we love them through our service. As Martin Luther famously said, "God doesn't need your service but your neighbor does." God likes it when you are I are serving people in practical ways. That's love!
Let me close with this question. Are you fulfilling God’s greatest commandment and serving someone today?