Perspective for the New Year
When asked about the “greatest commandment,” Jesus encapsulated in His response a broad perspective on life and relationships. Reflecting upon his answer at this time of year can help us as we move forward in every area of ministry. His answer gives us perspective.
Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)
First, we must know God. This is the essential element of understanding life and all of our relationships. There is only one God, and we know Him as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is the Creator of all things, both seen and unseen, and we are part of His creation. Our very life is dependent upon Him, as well as our salvation. He is God, and we are not, though we often attempt to displace Him in His proper role.
Secondly, we must know others. In knowing them, we must love them. In loving them, we come to know them more fully. All of their idiosyncrasies, their foibles, their habits – both good and bad! As we take a look at others, we really see how needy they are, in every facet of life. We can see in their need the reality of their dependence upon God. Such is the human condition.
Thirdly, we must know ourselves. Our love for others is inherently connected to our knowledge and love for self. Too often we view ourselves separate from the others around us. However, we must overcome this delusion and realize we are the same as they. We need God’s supply and sufficiency each and every day.
So, really, there are only two sides here, rather than three. God is on the one side as Creator, Sustainer, and Provider. We and all the “others” are on the other side as needy and dependent upon God’s care and provision for us.
Keeping this in mind as we serve people in 2014 will help us keep the proper perspective. As we serve those around us, we serve them out of our own dependence upon the God whom they need as well. We are no better than they in this regard, whether they are believers or unbelievers, young or old. As we depend upon Christ for our life and our sustenance, we can be a light for others who search in this darkness. May we be faithful in showing forth His light throughout this New Year!
(Original written for the January 2012 Newsletter of the One in the Son chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists Association, Grand Rapids, MI)