It is now Thursday evening and I have this article to write and a weekly bulletin to publish. Two sermons need to be finished. Welcome slides and readings have yet to be updated in PowerPoint. I still have obligations to my employer. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has presented an unending list of challenges in my son’s purchase and registration of a pickup truck. I promised to help my in-laws Friday night and Saturday. No pressure, right? Ordinarily this would be stressful enough but there were other priorities. A dear sister in Christ passed away over the weekend. I was honored to speak at her service on Tuesday. My dad was taken to the hospital Tuesday night with suspected heart problems. I drove to the hospital tonight to see him. Another dear brother lost his father on Wednesday. My obligations keep moving further down on the list. Priorities change with circumstances.
Life has always been a balancing act. Food, shelter, clothing and multiple obligations all compete for our time and attention. Unfortunately, those priorities can displace the one priority set by the Creator. This single obligation defines and brings balance to all the others. The Mosaic law demanded that one love God foremost. “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:5 NKJV) Jesus later identified this as the greatest commandment. “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.’” (Matthew 22:37-38 NKJV)
John beautifully summarizes the life of one who loves God with all their being. A synopsis of the book of 1st John is to: Know God. Walk in the light. Do not love the world. Confess your sins. Confess Christ. Practice righteousness. Lay down your life if necessary. Give generously. Love one another genuinely. “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.” (1 John 3:14 NKJV) “Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.” (1 John 4:17 NKJV) “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.” (1 John 5:2 NKJV)