“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘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 22:36-40)
Many of us have had the experience of having parents that loved and cared for us as we grew up. They worked hard to provide food, clothing, and a home. We look back and realize the sacrifice they sometimes made in order for us to have what we wanted, not just what we needed. They were also there provide counselling, or a sympathetic ear when things were going bad. There were also those times when we were just sure they didn’t know what they were talking about. Times, to when we were grounded for messing up. The discipline wasn’t so fun, but as we grew older, we learned the importance of it. And while you didn’t always get along, you couldn’t imagine life without them.
While growing up, there were those special times. Remember when you first fell in love? You saw her and couldn’t take your eyes off her. Who was she? Where did she come from? You wanted to meet her, but you also didn’t want to. You finally worked up the nerve to talk to her. Actually, she talked and you listened. Time flew, and soon you had to leave. As you left, you began thinking of any reason to see her again. All evening long, she was all you could think of. As time went on, you learned more about her. Your relationship grew from what really started as infatuation to a full love. And while you didn’t always get along, you couldn’t imagine life without her.
Let’s change scenes. You’re in grade school again, and you find yourself playing ball with this kid your age. He’s a friendly sort, and you both have a lot in common. Soon, he’s hanging out at your house after school, and on Saturdays, you’re both on your bikes. The time you’re together is spent talking, laughing, and playing. You tell him about the plans you have when you grow up. He tells you about a girl he has a crush on. You soon find yourself in high school, then college. All this time, your friend is there with you. And while you don’t always get along, you couldn’t imagine life without him.
Once more, let’s change the picture. Maybe you attended Church as a youngster, or a friend invited you to go with him. It was okay, but you didn’t see the attraction to it. One day, you go as a favor to your friend, and you hear a minister or teacher say something that strikes a nerve. They quote a verse from the Bible that intrigues you. You remember the book, chapter, and verse, then find a Bible the first chance you get. You re-read it, then read the verses before and after. You develop an urge that drives you to read more about God. You talk to Him in prayer, and spend time with others who also believe. You ask Him into your life, accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior. He’s there whenever you need Him to guide you, listen to you, and comfort you. And while you don’t always understand Him, you couldn’t imagine life without Him.
We’ve just looked at four relationships that may or may not have been a part of your life. If you’ve experienced just one, though, you know how important it has been to you. Relationships like these take time. They also take work, but as you look back, it didn’t seem like work at all. Getting to know the other person takes skills. Questioning skills, listening skills, speaking skills, reasoning skills, and the list goes on. This isn’t something that you do because you have to. You want to do it; you desire it. You have this need to know more about them, and the more you know, the more you care. The more you care, the more you love them.
It is very important as a human being that we develop and experience these different types of love given in the examples above. However, the one with God is by far the most important. It is the one with eternal consequences. It may take some work on your part in the beginning, but as it begins to grow, you’ll soon find no better friend.