‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, ‘“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’
God has given us all the same purpose: to love Him and to love others. Sometimes we get sidetracked by the complexity of Scripture. Well-meaning people argue over translations and historical context, but the most important commandment has always been clear. If you’ve ever been tasked with looking after a child, you know that there are plenty of things that you should and should not do, but all of those rules are sort of secondary to the main goal which is to keep the child alive. Most likely the parents who entrusted the child to you care more about the child still breathing than if she went to bed a half hour later than normal. A babysitter who feeds a child who has a deathly peanut allergy a few scoops of peanut butter and then puts her to bed promptly at 7:30 probably won’t get any thanks from the parents. In the same way, Jesus reminds us that all of the law and the prophets “hang on” to the greatest commandment which is to love God and to love others. A brilliant theologian with no love for God is no better than the fool who has never opened his Bible. The pastor of a “successful” megachurch with no compassion for others is no better than any atheist who has never stepped foot in a church. Our faith, intentions, charity, justice, wisdom, arguments, accolades are all worthless without love.