This post was originally posted on ChristianStewardshipCoaching.com October 29, 2014.
So today the bible passage we are going to hear from Matthew 22:36-46 is where Jesus is set up by the “good Church goin’ folk”.
They set out to trap him in “getting the law wrong.” In the past we’ve summed up these, the greatest commandments, as
Wuv Love God, Love Your Neighbor, Love Yourself. In that order.
With that emphasis.
I want to talk a bit today about why the order is so important.
Many of you know that although I grew up in the church I haven’t always been a Church going Christian man. In fact, I
left ran from the Church at a young age. Ran from the Church and eventually even became a non-believer, yes an atheist.
I’ve always had an intellectual scientific bent and I became convinced that I could better understand the world through science than through faith.
I’ll be honest I still believe that in some ways, but I’ve learned that understanding the world and living in it are two different things completely.
Yet I’ve returned to the church. I’ve returned to believing, faith, and God.
Why? Because I've become less confused about the order.
When I left the Church it was in large part because of some of the “good Church goin’ folk” or at least that’s what I told myself. Those Church folk told me things that I just couldn’t accept.
They told me things that to me sounded less like love and more like hate. They told me that to be Christian I had to say certain things, dress a certain way, do certain things, only love certain people, and not others, that if I sought out certain knowledge well that, to quote one person that I truly loved and admired, “you will go to hell for reading that” when I chose to seek out the Qua-ran in an attempt to understand what the real differences between Islam and Christianity were rather than accept the sound bite version.
Now don’t get me wrong there are rules in the Bible.
There are instructions. There are commandments. Jesus himself said he wasn’t here to abolish the law but to fulfill it.
And Jesus set these commandments up as the ultimate set of commandments, if you could follow these then you would INDEED follow the law.
Now before you shake your head too much. Sigh and say those “Church folk were confused” or say poor Scott….Notice I said “at least that’s what I told myself.”
Because I’ve figured out in the last few years after much pain and struggle that well, that wasn’t the reason I left the Church. At least not completely.
No the reason wasn’t even that the long list of rules that different people told me were required to be Christian, very different in some cases. The reason was I tried to reverse the commandments Jesus gave to follow the Law and thus I broke it.
I tried to find ways to first love myself. So that I could then be strong enough to love others. And through Loving others I felt I would eventually grow to love God.
I got it wrong. Now I try.
I don’t always succeed but I always try.
I often think I fail more than I succeed actually.
To put the order right. To realize that if I put God first then loving others becomes easier.
And in turn I find that I really love myself more then.
I’m not God. I’m not anyone else’s form of Christian.
The list of rules that others put out and say you must do this or that. I need to hear them. Listen to them. Value them. Even Love them.
But only the rules God puts forward are THE RULES.
Love God with all your heart and mind and soul, love your neighbor as yourself, that's true Stewardship.