I like to keep things simple and easy to understand, both in the way I live and in the way I lead. Here are two foundational ideas to stay focused on until the day He takes me home.
Passion for Jesus and love for people.
In Matthew 22:36-40, Jesus responding to a religious leader’s question about which commandment was the greatest said that it was to love the Lord with everything we’ve got and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
He then went on to say that on these two commandments are based the entire law and all the words of the prophets.
In essence, Jesus boiled down everything that the Father commands us into two commands—Love God and love people.
- Passion for Jesus
For a few years I was part of a church that began it’s Sunday worship with,”Welcome to ______ church. We are all about Jesus.” I always felt that this was a great way to begin. We wanted to not be all about what we teach, although that’s important. We wanted to not be all about a single teacher/leader which is very easy to do, and not biblical or healthy. We wanted to not be all about us and what we wanted. We wanted to not be all about the building, the money in the bank, etc. We wanted to be all about Jesus!
I’ve come to believe that it’s tempting to slowly but surely begin to be passionate about things other than Jesus. We can be passionate about our teaching, our programs, our outreach and somehow leave Jesus in the dust. Our enemy is okay with that, making much about everything else, but not about Jesus!
In Revelation 2:4 we read: “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” (ESV). For the church family at Ephesus, passion for Jesus had dissipated. The joy, the excitement, the hunger had grown cold and distant.
On the other hand: “From the very first day you heard and recognized the truth of what God is doing, you’ve been hungry for more. It’s as vigorous in you now as when you first learned it from Epaphras.” Colossians 1:6 (The Message)
I desire that for my life—my passion and love for Jesus is still as hot and vibrant as when I first heard about Him and learned to love Him.
It’s sobering to realize that we can even grow to be more passionate about our sound doctrine and the gospel than we are about Jesus himself. Hard to believe, but I’ve seen it!
2. Love for people
A saw a Peanuts cartoon years ago where one of the characters says, “I love humanity, it’s people I can’t stand.”
Out of my supreme passion for Jesus, He, through the Holy Spirit, teaches me how to truly love others.
With the exception of one, the world is composed of others.
We know we should love people and use things, but instead we drift toward loving things and using people.
In a song, “The Older I Get,” Alan Jackson sings, “The older I get, the truer it is, it’s the people you love not the money and stuff that makes you rich.”
The culture we live in sings a different song, “It’s the money and stuff not the people you love that makes you rich.”
The message seems clear that he who dies with the most toys wins
By His grace I want to continue to grow in my love for people, starting with my own family,
I want to, and pray to:
- Really, really listen to them when they talk with me—not looking at my watch or smart phone
- Be empathetic with what they’re going through
- Ask good questions to get to know them and connect with them
- Be patient with them
- Go out of my way to put them first before myself
- Serve them in any way I can
- Celebrate, not just tolerate, the differences we have
So yes, I want to keep it simple. I may not be able to remember 25 things but I can remember two:
Passion for Jesus
Love for People