Love God, Love People

Duane Vander Klok

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,’“
(Matthew 22: 35-39).

In one statement, Jesus took all 613 commandments from the Old Testament and broke them down to two: love God first, and love people.

You see, our culture tends to over use the word ‘love.’ At one moment we can tell someone how much we love hamburgers, but then turn around and tell our children that we love them. We can say how much we love a new television show, but then sing out with words of love in worship to God.

Jesus wasn’t saying to simply verbalize our love for Him at a surface level, but to allow love to permeate every part of our being. He says that we are to love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind. This is every part of us: how we act, how we think, and how we respond to His call.

Here’s the thing though, Jesus doesn’t stop with the most important commandment. He ties together the second, counting it nearly as an equal: love people. ALL people.

The Pharisees and Sadducees knew all 613 commandments. They knew the facts, but Jesus knew the facts AND the heart behind them. So even when they tested Him, accused Him, and ultimately crucified Him, He responded with “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing,” (Luke 23:34). He responded with love. It is from this point of perfect love that He paid the price for all who may believe in Him.

As believers, we are all called to love and serve God. How do we do this though? Simple: You love God by loving people. You love God by serving people and being a light to them for the Gospel. Love them no matter what the circumstance is. Love them no matter what they have already done to you. Love God first, and love people.

This week, let’s each pray and ask for God to reveal how we can better love Him with all of our heart, soul, and mind; and further love the people around us.