It is a popular song that is often sung in the Lord’s church: “THE GREATEST COMMAND.” Perhaps it is the melody that touches our hearts, but for me, it is the message that needs to be constantly repeated. It repeated what Jesus said in Matthew 22:34-40, when asked by the lawyer “Teacher, what is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commands hang all the law and the prophets.”
As we go through the New Testament, it seems that this command to love God and love each other is found time and again. Every letter written to churches encourages the love of God and of the brethren. John writes in 1 John 4:20-21, “If someone say, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar, for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” His point is clear—if we don’t love our neighbor and our brothers, we do not love God.
Sometimes we have become so busy in our individual lives that we cannot see the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ. We don’t think about the shut-ins, the sick and those bereaving the loss of loved ones. Many talk about the church not being what it was years ago, when fellowship was closer and more meaningful; when brothers and sisters would go out and eat together either in individual homes, or at some restaurant. Even opportunities to fellowship with one another here at the building is not as well attended as it used to be. Are we to busy?
What happened? What can we—what MUST we do to change that?
Perhaps, and this may sound simplistic, it boils down to understanding what love is, and putting our faith and love into practice.
Love is not an emotion we feel, as much as it is a decision we make. I’m sure Jesus didn’t “feel” great going to the cross, but he made the decision in the garden to die on the cross and fulfill the will of His Father in heaven. He made the decision, and faced those who arrested him with courage and strength (John 18:1-11). He went to the cross because of love, and it was love that held him there! He willingly sacrificed his life for us, because he wants a complete and full relationship with us. He showed compassion to men time and again while here on earth, and he expects his servants—us—to do the same. We must make time for one another in the church.
In the elder’s visits with people here at South Cobb, there are those who feel that there are cliques here, and only if you are a part of the cliques are you cared for. Such should not be the case. Are they right in assuming that we treat some people a certain way, and others we treat totally different? Is this what Jesus would do? Did Jesus do this? What must we do to draw those who feel alienated back into our fellowship? We must “love one another.” Sounds simple, doesn’t it! At the same time, if we feel left out, we need to ask ourselves if we have withdrawn ourselves from the fellowship of the church—am I engaged with the church? Do I have eyes that see the needs, and hope someone else addresses them? When someone is sick and in need of help, do we love them enough to come to their aid, without them asking? Have we eyes to see their needs and feet to do something about it? Have we become a church that can’t see their needs, or, if we do see their needs, we don’t have time to help them? Are we to busy to “love one another?” If so, we are to busy!
Satan wants to divide us and tear us apart, and many times he has done so by mistakes I and others have made. Have we created a culture where Satan thrives and we are not there for one another? Please Lord, forgive us! Father, help us to love one another!
As we consider this, look at this passage from God to help us to know what loving one another, and loving God, really means. Look for ways to show that love this week. Hopefully, we will try to spend some time in our next bulletin article challenging one another to love one another by looking at specific ways these verses can be applied to our lives.
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;
13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”
We extend our prayers, sympathy and love to the family of JOY FREEMAN, who passed away November 24. She reminded me constantly of the fact that none of us know when we will pass from this life; in fact, the last thing I remember her saying to me was “We don’t know when we will die—we just BETTER BE READY.” AMEN!