Most people familiar with the Bible remember the time when Jesus was asked to say which of the 613 commandments of the religious law of the time was the greatest (Matthew 22:34-38).
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” Jesus replied, “and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” We call this The Great Commandment.
How can you and I fulfill this commandment? Must each of us become a Christian missionary or go into some other full-time ministry? History shows that there are many ways people have tried to fulfill The Great Commandment.
Let me suggest a sometimes overlooked way. We may prayerfully ask God to give us the grace we need to give, share, console one another, bandage a wound, lift a fallen human spirit, mend a quarrel, search out a forgotten friend, dismiss a suspicion and replace it with trust, encourage some one who has lost faith, let someone who feels helpless do a favor for me, keep a promise, bury an old grudge, reduce my demands on others, fight for justice for others, or to tell someone that I love him or her and then tell him again.
One of the reasons I recommend this is because of what Jesus said on another occasion as he urged us to show love and compassion by giving practical help to those around us.
“Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these, my brothers, you did it to me!” he says (Matthew 25:45).
Love for God, neighbor, and self are somehow bound up together.
THE REV. G. DANIEL MCCALL IS MINISTER OF PASTORAL CARE AT FAIRVIEW PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN NORTH AUGUSTA.