Love God, Love People. by Rev. Mark Taylor

Matthew 22:36-40 NRSV

‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ 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 greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’

Love God, Love People.

I talk about this a lot with our youth. In fact, they are probably pretty tired of hearing me say that. Jesus was asked which commandment was the greatest, and his response, essentially, is love God, and love people. The explanation of his answer, though, is perhaps equally important. Jesus states that all the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments. All 613 commandments observed by the Jewish people, and all the subsequent teachings of Moses, Elijah, and all the other prophets hang on those two commandments. Love God, and Love People. If we take away love, all the rest fall to the ground as well.

It seems so simple, doesn’t it? All we have to do is love God and love people. Anybody can do that, right? I think we can all attest to the fact that it’s never that easy. We might feel like we are doing pretty well and then we encounter someone who rubs us the wrong way, or perhaps someone who is manipulative, or maybe we just get cut off in traffic, and before we know it, we are no longer loving our neighbor. Oops.

Summer is over, and fall is upon us. For many, that means the start of a new semester in school, either for themselves, their children, or someone else they know. For others, it might signify relief from the heat and some beautiful leaves. Personally, I like the changing seasons. Not just because maybe it won’t be 100 degrees every day, but more because it is almost as if we get a fresh start; a new chance to try to live out these greatest commandments. The changing season represents a chance to let go of previous shortcomings and restart my focus on living how God calls me to live.

So how are you going to use this new season? Regardless of what awaits around the corner, I hope you will find ways to challenge yourself to learn what it means to love God and love people in all new ways.

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