God’s kingdom needs able volunteers
Brave volunteers are needed to replace the departed members of a dedicated group that currently face the evil threat of insignificance. Group members serve as soldiers and warriors who fight the most aggressive enemies without weapons of sword and shield; guns and bullets; tanks and artillery. They are united in their loyalty to a leader who never lost a battle. The volunteers needed are faithful followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It was an expert on the law that questioned Jesus’ call to be a teacher of the faith. Addressed with the honorable title of teacher, Jesus was asked, “Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
“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,” responded Jesus. He continued, “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.)
Jesus’ response reminds us that if we are unwilling to keep the first commandment, the rest will overwhelm us. Loving God fully, with heart, mind, soul and strength leaves no room to serve other gods. Faithfully loving God is choosing to fully invest oneself in God’s wisdom and guidance that has come through the law and prophets.
The Law refers to the Ten Commandments through which God revealed how his people would be identified from all other peoples, tribes and nations. They were the people of the one God of all creation who having heard their cries, were rescued from slavery and brought to a land of abundant blessings. Their continued freedom was dependent upon living according to the Ten Commandments. The most difficult was the first commandment: “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3.)
Jesus moves beyond the question suggesting the love of God is true when we love others as God loves us. The love of God is unconditional. He suggests that proof of one’s love for God is in the measure of one’s love for neighbor and self. It is in loving one’s neighbor as oneself that individuals share in the oneness that Jesus shared with God the Father. It is this oneness that reveals and maintains the living presence of God within the community. It is God, who is revealed in Christ Jesus, working through people of faith that the Church maintains relevance.
The great soldier David slayed the giant threatening the army of the Lord not with sword or spear but with the word of the Lord. We are called to also depend upon the word of the Lord to slay the giants of today that threaten the children of God. For the Word of the Lord was made flesh enabling all who love the Lord to be instruments of God’s love and deliverance. For children of God:
- have gathered at the border who are sheep from other flocks seeking to raise their children upon green pastures and still waters of a promised land.
- are challenged with parenting their neglected grandchildren.
- are having to make difficult choices to afford basic medical care.
- struggling with change within their lives that come with aging, employment, relationships and the unplanned challenges of life.
- Children of God (You fill in the blank.)
When love for neighbor does not match the love of self, might it be other gods are being served? Brave servants of the kingdom of God are in continuous need to make real the victory of God’s love. Are you an able volunteer?
Your servant in Christ,
SAM ASKEW is the pastor of Windsor Congregational Christian Church. Contact him at 242-4794.