Is it really this simple? (Day six Matthew 22:37-40)

37 Jesus said to him, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37–40 NET

Each time I read this passage I ask myself the same question, is it really this simple?  After a short time of reflection I always come back to the same answer, which is YES, it is this simple.  Jesus was right when he said that every other law depends on these two commandments.  No matter what law, or command you think of that God has prescribed for humanity they all deal either with loving God or loving others in some way.  If you look at the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 you might notice that the first four deal with our love for God, and the final six with our love for others.  Many times we complicate the Christian faith beyond reason.  This is partly to blame for the sharp decline in both church attendance and volunteerism in the church as well.  People are easily frustrated by all of the written and unwritten rules that they perceive to be burdensome to life, so they disengage and retreat to the sidelines of the faith.  Jesus knew that keeping it simple was better not just for the Pharisees he addressed in this text, but for us as well.  There are two main things God calls us to do, and we can with some effort do them both well and find fulfillment in our faith.  We should put our full effort into loving God and loving others this and every other day of our lives.


About Pastor Pete

Pete is the senior Pastor of Cowboy Fellowship in Pleasanton Texas. He is also the author of The Absolute Basics of Christianity, The Living Lamp, and a co-author of The Modern Day Disciple Bible Study series.
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4 Responses to Is it really this simple? (Day six Matthew 22:37-40)

  1. Royce Hart says:

    I received two Christmas gift catalogs in the mail yesterday that offered products that could be construed as ways of “loving your neighbor.” One was Godiva’s business gifts catalog, where you could deliver a business client a $150 box of chocolates. The other was the WorldVision catalog, where for $100 you could send a starving family a goat and two chickens for $100. Of course, it’s no coincidence that both arrived in the mailbox at the same time. People only have so much money to spend.

    • Pastor Pete says:

      I frequently feel convicted to act when I get things like that in the mail as well Royce. I think it is generally easy to love others when we already like them, or when they are our clients, or when we know nothing about them as is the case for the poor in other countries. The difficulty for me and most others I suspect is loving those I know better and have no incentive outside of my Lords command to love. The difficult neighbor, the gossip who spreads rumors about me, or the person who constantly nags me about this or that. Loving others is sometimes easy, but it can also be extremely difficult as well. The fact is however that the faith we live is really this simple and can be summed up with these two commands. Good post Royce thanks for your response!

      • Royce Hart says:

        Pastor Pete, thanks for your response. Yep, loving people who actively hate me is far harder than loving friends and anonymous strangers. 

        I still wonder about how this command of loving my enemies applies to folks who would seek to hurt my family and friends. I probably don’t have to tell you that I err on the side of defending my family, but I don’t see how that’s supposed to work, really. 

      • Pastor Pete says:

        I agree this is the hard part of living out our faith when it comes to others and I struggle with it just like you do. It reminded me of the words of Christ…

        ““If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to be repaid, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, so that they may be repaid in full.” (Luke 6:32–34 NET)

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