When asked to elevate one law of the Old Testament above all others, Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matthew 22:36-38).
Jesus had a way of taking things a step further and added, “A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:39-40).
But He didn’t stop there either. On the night of Passover while in the Upper Room with the twelve disciples, Jesus said:
Dear children, I will be with you only a little longer. And as I told the Jewish leaders, you will search for me, but you can’t come where I am going. So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. – John 35:33-35
A new command. Only He had the authority to give a new command and boy, does it up the ante. Loving my neighbor as I love myself is already difficult enough, but to love people like Jesus loved me… that’s a whole new level of love.
And that’s how Christ calls us to love.
So where to start? In his book Love Does, Bob Goff challenges his readers to “just show up. Let’s go do stuff.” You don’t have to travel to Nicaragua or even downtown Atlanta to love others like Jesus. You can start right where you are.
- Just show up in your home. Willingly die to yourself for the sake of your kids and your spouse. Put the needs of your family before your own and do it with joy. Be slow to anger and quick to listen and forgive.
- Just show up at your office ready to love. Put a smile on Monday morning and bring your co-workers donuts. Speak well of those you work with and for. Ask your boss how you can help the company succeed.
- Just show up for a neighbor. Take them a cake and introduce yourself, even if you’ve lived beside them for 10 years and have never spoken a word to each other. Invite them to a summer BBQ. Mow their lawn when they are out of town or just bring their trashcan up the drive each week.
- Just show up for those who serve you. Tip your waitress really well and leave her an invite to church. Learn the guy’s name who hands you a coffee at the drive-thru every morning. Take it a step further, asking him how you can pray for him (and do it)!
Let’s go do stuff! Let’s show people that love does.
And your love will demonstrate to the world that you are His disciple. Because unconditional love, love that is undeserved and gives without expectation, is uncommon. While it happens quietly, this kind of love draws a crowd. This kind of love does and makes disciples who make disciples.