Today’s Reading: Matthew 22:34-23:12 (additional reading: Psalm 27:7-14 & Proverbs 6:27-3)
I think all of us have wondered at one time or another just what our purpose is. I think the two most asked questions about our lives are: (a) The question of reason – “Why am I here?” (b) The question of value – “Do I matter?”
Asking different people these questions will get you different answers. Oprah Winfrey said, “You’ve got to figure it out by yourself.” The Materialist says, “Life is all about the acquisition of things.” and those who are into the self-help say, “Create your own purpose.” Carl Yung, the famous psychiatrist said, “I don’t know the meaning of life or the purpose of life, but it looks as if something were meant by it.” Joseph Taylor wrote a book entitled “I Have No Answers to the Meaning of Life – And I No Longer Want to Search for Any.”
Most Christians know their main purpose in life. Jesus tells us in today’s reading Matthew 22:37 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. But Jesus goes on to explain our second greatest responsibility: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” (v38) Paul stresses the same thing in Galatians 5:14, saying “The entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: Love your neighbour as yourself.” Learning to love our neighbour is therefore obviously crucial.
What is a primary reason we typically fail to see the needs of our neighbours during our daily lives? There is a huge difference between seeing a person, and actually seeing who they really are! Christ actually saw them individually. He didn’t just see a bunch of people, a crowd. But He looked into every single soul. Every person we meet is unique. Jesus doesn’t seem stereotypes, he sees souls.
C. S. Lewis once said: “it is easier to be enthusiastic about humanity with a capital “H” than it is to love individual men and women, especially those who are uninteresting, … exasperating, depraved, or otherwise unattractive. Loving everybody, in general, may be an excuse for loving nobody in particular.”
All people need to be understood, and need to have their problems validated, as described in Galatians 6:2. (Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.) Your hand of help may be God’s hand in another person’s life, but you must be willing to be interrupted and move against your fears. What changes do you have to make in order to be interruptaible and take the initiative to help a person in need?
Each day there are people all around us in need. Jesus said ‘That we should love our neighbours like ourselves. That doesn’t mean just that we shouldn’t do bad things to them. But instead we should think ‘If I was them, what would I love someone to do for me? Then we should grab the initiative and go do it!
How can we better love our neighbour?