SEPTEMBER 2004 CALENDAR ARTICLE
OUR THEME THIS YEAR:
Serving God with Humility and Love

The Greatest Commandments

by Brian Harris

But when the Pharisees heard that He had put the Sadducees to silence, they gathered themselves together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”

And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

Any attempt by us to obey God without loving him and our fellow human beings is bound to fail. God requires our very best in this area; we are to love him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (see also Mark 12:28-34). We can’t hold back. Such love opens the doors to the blessings God wants to pour out upon us.

Alexander Campbell, commenting on the two greatest commandments, wrote, “We can do nothing more, either to God or our neighbor, than is required by these words.” Certainly it appears that the two commandments are intertwined; we can’t obey one without obeying the other. And it is in such obedience that our lives really become lives of loving, humble service. For if we love the Lord, our work in improving the physical and spiritual circumstances of others in his name will actually be service to him.

Love the Lord, love your neighbor, and love yourself, for we are created in the likeness of God. For God is love (1 John 4:8). Jesus said we are near the kingdom of God when we do these things. This is God’s way to happiness only if we obey.

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