Whether you turn to the right or to the left,

your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,

“This is the way; walk in it.”

Isaiah 30:21

The Only Thing That Counts ...

I wonder if I really understand the challenge Jesus gives when he tells me the most important commandment is to love God and love neighbor.

I often convince myself the call to love is too simple, too shallow, too easy. I make up other goals, other things I believe matter more. And I aim for those things rather than aiming to become more loving.

But to love in the way Jesus tells and shows us to is not only of utmost importance, it is truly the challenge of a lifetime.

And one I must admit I am not very good at yet. I have so much more to learn about what it means to love like Jesus loved.

Dorothy Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker movement says it so clearly:

“If we could only learn that the important thing is love, and that we will be judged on love – to keep on loving, and showing that love, and expressing that love, over and over, whether we feel it or not, seventy times seven, to mothers-in-law, to husbands, to children – and to be oblivious of insult, or hurt, or injury – not to see them, not to hear them.

It is a hard, hard doctrine … We have got to pray, to read the Gospel, to get to frequent communion, and not judge, not do anything but love, love, love. A bitter lesson.”

Paul writes, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Galatians 5:6)

Peter writes, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)

What might today look like if your sole purpose, your only goal … was to love?

What pours out ...

“If we believe in Jesus, it is not what we gain, but what He pours through us that counts.

It is not that God makes us beautifully rounded grapes, but that He squeezes the sweetness out of us.

Spiritually, we cannot measure our life by success, but only by what God pours through us, and we cannot measure that at all.”

(Oswald Chambers)

What if this was the way we assessed our lives?

Or, better yet ... What if we just stayed so close to Jesus that He couldn't help but pour his love and grace into us, and then right out through us into our broken world?

And then perhaps we wouldn't even be bothered to think about assessing ourselves or trying to measure success.

We would know that our only job was to stay real, real close to Jesus. As if that were enough. Because it is.

What do you believe in?

As I listen to conversations between Christians, and as I pay attention to some of the arguments amongst Christian groups of various kinds played out for the world to see on social media (um, is this wise?) I have found myself wondering …

Do we believe more in our own beliefs than we do in Jesus?

It sure seems like we do.

Fighting over what we believe about women…

Fighting over what we believe about very specific doctrines…

Fighting over what we believe about sexuality…

Fighting over what we believe the true definition of “biblical” is…

Fighting over politics …

And the list goes on…

I have found myself wishing we did a bit more fighting over Jesus, to be honest.

Martin Luther nails it:

“Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God, your functional savior.”

At times, you would think our beliefs have become our “god,” our “functional savior.” We cling to them more tightly than almost anything else … it seems our very faith hinges upon them. We seem to want to fight to the death for them.

Do we believe more in our own beliefs than we do in Jesus?

Do we?