Week 38 Word: Love the Lord
Week 38 Text: Luke 10:27
Written By: Chrystan Ferrell
“The man answered, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” (Luke 10:27 NLT)
Have you ever known the answer to a really hard question? I remember the urgency with which elementary school students would raise their hands when they knew for sure they had the right answer to a tricky question. They would wave their little hands, practically coming out of their seats with abundant enthusiasm, like their lives depended on this one answer!
In Luke 10:27, we read the answer to a very weighty question. Let’s set the scene. Picture Jesus in or near the temple, teaching. It’s a hot day (because I think it’s always a hot day there). A man stands up, which means they were all sitting. I picture him like those elementary school students, eager to impress or maybe even stump the teacher. “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus replies, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” Just as swiftly as the question leaves the mouth of Rabbi, there is an answer from the scribe: he’s got this one! So he says, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength and all your mind. And, love your neighbor as yourself.” He smiles smugly, proud of himself in all his brilliance. He had the “right” answer. And Jesus confirms.
Then the scribe takes it one more step. “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus gives them all an answer they never wanted to hear. Your neighbor can even be your enemy. And you must love them to inherit eternal life.
To love the Lord means to love His people, and sometimes His people are hard for us to love. Over the last few years, I’ve had a neighbor who’s been really hard to love. Have you? Maybe yours are delightful and make you cinnamon rolls. But let’s take a look beyond neighbors living in proximity to you. Let’s peel back the layers of your community. Your “neighbor” is the pushy lady on the PTA board who wears you out. Your “neighbor” is that uncle who loudly shares his opposite political views at the table. What about the people who hurt us in church? They are our neighbors, too. The Muslim, the homeless, the least of these, the enemy on the other side of the line — love them all.
This is a HIGH calling. The scribe in Luke 10 goes on, trying to see if Jesus will give him an out, maybe a way to justify a bias against certain kinds of neighbors. However, the parable of the good Samaritan follows in the very next chapter, and there is just no way around it:
If you love Me, love your neighbor.
There’s no way out for us either, friends. The way to heaven is through love. We cannot earn our way, but we can love our way.
1.Pray. The only way to face the hardship of loving our neighbors is to meet it with prayer. Take some time this week to pray for those who are difficult to love in your life. You know who they are; they just popped into your brain as you read this. Pray for them. Pray for God to soften your heart to toward them, to see them through His eyes.
2. Act. Through prayer, God will show you ways to love your neighbors, ways to love His people, even the hard ones. Do not delay; act on those! When we are willing, when we are submitting to the will of the Father, there will be high callings.
3. Be relentless. The love of our Father is never relenting for us. Be relentless with your love for others. This will cause people to pause and be perplexed. Why are you loving them so well? This will point to the relentless love of the Father, and to God be the glory!!!! (Want to know more about God’s relentless love? Join us at IBKC—click HERE for more info!)