Devotion for Friday, May 15
Matthew 22: 37-39
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.'
Ask my past and present confirmands how often I ask them this question; "What is the Greatest Commandment?" I ask this because some of the answers are shall I say, interesting. I love my young people because they really do say the darndest things. There is one young person in particular from this year's confirmation class that said this to me; He said "Well, I follow a majority of them, so..."
God has given the people of Israel 10 commandments as well as laws that concern their diet, land ownership, the Sabbath as well as many others. The "others" were laws that were aimed at preventing them from coming close to breaking one of the Commandments. In Jesus' day there were over 600 laws and rules meaning it was impossible not to break at least one of these. The Pharisees had just one question for Jesus; "What is the Greatest Commandment?"
Simply put Jesus says, "Love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." But then He adds something a little more difficult; we have to love our neighbors! And not just love them but LOVE them! We are called to love all people, regardless of who they are. So if you judge people by the color of their skin or the amount of money in their pockets, or holding a grudge against someone you need to grow in your love of God.
Loving our neighbor is so hard to do sometimes let alone all people. But scripture helps us with this as well; Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."
When we have that relationship with Christ, we can love anyone!
Never forget that you are loved! Amen
Director of Children's and Youth Ministries
Let us pray:
Heavenly Father, we acknowledge that we are selective of who we love. Teach us to love you more fully so that in loving you our lives will show love to all others. We pray this in the name of your greatest gift of love, Christ Jesus. Amen.