We’ve all heard the statement so many times (and even uttered it a few times ourselves): “I just want to know God’s Will for my life…” – followed by a resolute pledge to immediately execute His instructions, if we knew them – “so I could just move forward and do it!”
Fortunate for us, God has already told us all (very plainly) what His Will is for each of our lives:
“‘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. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
– Matthew 22:37-40
Knowing this, why is it that we find it so hard to “know” and “do” God’s Will? Perhaps, it is because in this simple statement lie many more complex questions like “What is love?” “Who is my neighbor?” “And how does one love God?” Again, fortunate for us, He has answered these questions too…
What is love?
In not so many words: Love is the only thing that matters…
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
– 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
“God is love.”
– 1 John 4:8, 4:16
How does love behave?
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
– 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Who is my neighbor?
In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus explains that everyone is our neighbor, regardless of how different they are from us, and that we are to care for them with the greatest of affection:
An expert in the law asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
– Luke 10:25-37
How can I love God?
In Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus says that loving God is the “first and greatest commandment” and “the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” The word “like” indicates that the second commandment is the “same” as the first. Thus, to “love God” is to “love our neighbor” and vice-versa.
In Concrete Terms:
To love God with all we have and all we are (heart, soul, and mind), it is necessary that we love our neighbor AS ourselves. Since we love ourselves completely (Mentally, Physically, Emotionally, Spiritually, & Financially), so too must we love our neighbors. From a mathematical perspective, the “as” in love your neighbor “as” yourself would refer to “equal to”… And that’s where 50/50 comes in: Half for me, Half for my neighbors…
Including, but not limited to: Time, Money, Prayers, Space, & Attention.
Easier said, that done, I know. But, that’s why it’s a mission and not just a task.
… Mission 50/50.