(Matthew 22: 37-40, The Message) Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”
Sometimes I rather enjoy reading The Message Bible. It often puts scripture passages that I have read so many times before in a new perspective for me. I love the idea of these two most important commands from Christ as pegs, on which everything else is hung. If you are like me, then images and metaphors are one of the best ways for you to understand ideas and concepts. When I can see something in my mind, I gain a more complete understanding of it.
Love God. Love others. These are the two pegs, and on these two pegs EVERYTHING hangs in balance and has a place to rest.
I can’t help but think about keys. My parents-in-law have a key rack on the wall by their back door. Because there are so many of us who come in and out of that house on a daily basis, and because of the various sets of keys that all of us own, this key rack has been a life-saver on so many occasions. Before the key rack, keys were getting misplaced and lost (making people late because of having to search for them), keys were having to be replaced (which got expensive), and we even got keys mixed up from time to time. Then, someone had the amazingly bright idea to hang the key rack, which is adorned with several lovely pegs from which we all can hang our keys…keeping us safe from the woes of key loss!
In a rather roundabout way, what I’m trying to say here is that everything in our lives — our routines, our priorities, who we are, what we do, and how we live — the “keys” that make us who we are and that keep us going, are so easily lost and misplaced without that most essential “peg” on which to hang them all — LOVE.
(1 Corinthians 13: 1-7, The Message) If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Without love, all else is lost — bankrupt. Nothing you do will ever matter without love. It just won’t. Every good thing, every word spoken, is all in vain if it doesn’t come from a place of love. Without love, you are just a noisy, motionless, waste of space. That sounds harsh, but sometimes that’s the way the truth is — hard to hear, but needful. Well I don’t know about you, but I don’t want lead a pointless life! I don’t want to just walk in circles making noise! I want what I do to matter, I want what I say to be meaningful, and I want how I live to make a difference.
(James 2: 14-17) Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?
Let love be your motivation. Love God. Love others. Hang the keys of your life on those two pegs and allow that love to keep you from getting lost in the doing of life.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank you today for your love. Help me to love You in return, even more, by loving others and allowing your love to flow through me. I do sometimes get lost in my daily life. When I do, Lord, help me to remember that my keys need pegs. Love God. Love others. Amen.