Matthew 22:23-46; Numbers 22:1-40; Song of Solomon 2:8-3:5
How many times have we heard people talk about “the bottom line?” They don’t want to worry about all the details. They don’t want to crunch the numbers. They just want “the bottom line.” The Pharisees tried to trap Jesus by getting Him to go to the bottom line. So they asked an “innocent” 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.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’” (Matthew 22:36-40) An innocent question that was designed to trap Jesus. He either focused on God and left people out or focused on people and left God out. Jesus, when asked to give the greatest commandment included two. This answer is an important message for today. We have some who claim the name of Christ who seek to stand up for God and seem to put people and their needs low on their priority list. At the same time, many who claim to follow Christ look at people and their wants and needs and give their feelings and emotions a higher priority than God and His standards. We need a balanced approach that seeks to love God with all that we are and have and then seeks to love people. We can love people who are different from us. We can love those who rebel against God. Our job is to show people the love of God as we deal with them while we let God work in them. As hard as it is sometimes, we are called to love the sinner just as we love ourselves…and let’s leave it at that while we let God work in them.
Lord God, help me to love You with my whole being. And, because I love You, help me to love others. Keep me from trying to “fix” them – but let me show them Your love. Let me trust You to work in others just as You have worked in me.