Friday, May 17, 2019
This One Thing
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 commands.” Matthew 22:37-40
Some of the greatest wisdom often comes from the most unlikely places. Take for example, the 1991 movie, City Slickers, starring Billy Crystal. Deep into the movie, Billy Crystal's character, Mitch, gets some profound wisdom from Curley, a tough old cowboy played by Jack Palance. Curley asked Mitch, “Do you know what the secret of life is?” He then grins and says, “This,” while holding up one finger. Mitch replies, “Your finger?” Curly then says, “One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest doesn't mean (nothing).” That scene has been frozen in my mind since I saw the movie for the first time. Immediately and forever after, I have connected the image to Jesus' transformational statement in this passage.
In a sense, the expert lawyer on that day asked Jesus a similar question, “Which is the greatest commandment in the law?” More specifically, he asked Jesus for the secret of a successful spiritual life. Jesus replied with two commands both of which had one thing in common, LOVE. The key to successful Christian living is one thing—love. The rest of our practices really don't mean a thing. So then, if we can know love, grow love, and show love in our lives and in practice with our fellow believers, there isn't much left for us to do. Complexity brings tension and confusion but simplicity brings peace because it eliminates complexity and confusion. Though there are lots of things we do in life, if we will base everything on this one thing, love (love God, love others), we will likely experience a higher level of peace than ever before.