by: Rich Vaughan
The Gospel of Luke in the 10th chapter, in the 25th verse, poses THE QUESTION. Asked by a lawyer to Jesus the question goes, “Teacher what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (I wonder if the lawyer’s unspoken rule of thumb – don’t ever ask a question you do not know the answer to, applied here?) Jesus answers the lawyer’s question with a question. “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” The lawyer answers correctly, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your soul and your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus answers him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”
There it is. The answer to the great question. It is not complicated, it is not a mind confusing set of twists and turns or difficult obstacles to overcome. It does not require great sacrifice or memorizing a lot of scripture. It requires love. Could the answer really be that simple?
I think so. God’s rules are not complicated. I mean if we simply followed the 10 commandments we wouldn’t need the almost 30,000 laws on our books now! When Jesus tells us that the two greatest commandments, and the two that will bring us into eternal life, are “loving the Lord and our neighbors,” I believe him.
By loving the Lord, we follow him and we obey him. We take the teachings of Jesus to heart, and, in doing so, we experience love and grace. By loving our neighbors, we become better disciples and witnesses for Jesus. The two go hand in hand. You cannot love the Lord and not your neighbor. Who is our neighbor? Jesus answered the question with the parable of the Good Samaritan that follows the question raised by the lawyer. John Wesley (the founder of Methodism) in his comments on this section of scripture said, “our neighbor is anyone who needs our help.” In this current time in our lives, where people are upset, angry, and discouraged, now more than ever, we need to remember the basic foundation of our faith. The Gaither Vocal Band, a Southern Gospel group, sings a song entitled, “Loving God, Loving Each Other” – it really is that simple. May we “sing” the same song in our Christian walk. Amen & Amen.