Have you ever noticed how it is hard to love people you do not see often? Parents, grandparents, friends who have moved away… Loving them when we do not see them takes a lot of effort. When I get in my truck I do not think about who to call that I have not seen in a while. I think about listening to a book or a podcast, or think about my day, but rarely about grandma. Now I love her very much, and would drive for hours to go and see her. Loving Grandma is hard because I rarely see her.
I think some of us feel this way about God. We LOVE Jesus, but struggle to know how to love Jesus when we do not see him. It is not a lack of desire, but what is out of sight is often out of mind. So how do we love a God we cannot see?
Matthew 22:36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
Now first off, if you are a religious leader in this time, you have spent 30 years learning the law and the prophets and Jesus has the audacity to say it can all be learned in two simple sentences. You would either feel cheated in the years of learning that could have been a conversation, or you feel like it could never be that easy. Jesus says the most important commandment is not to not sin, but to show the crazy love of Jesus to the Lord. Then He tells us the way to love the God we cannot see is to love our neighbor that we can see.
So the next question is, who is my neighbor. Jesus teaches this in the story of the good Samaritan. In our culture, this would be like the story of the good “Nazi.” Jesus blows up their thoughts of loving their own people who think, dress, and believe like them and says the good neighbor is the one who crazy loves the GLBT, ISIS, democrats or republicans, atheists, muslims, or anyone else to does not think, dress or believe the way you do. Jesus said the way to love them is not to argue with them and tell them they are wrong, but to serve them and tell them about Jesus (message of hope not judgement). Serve people who are different than you by serving them and telling them how Jesus changed your life is loving a God you cannot see.
So who do you need to crazy love this week? Who thinks you hate them, that you can serve with no strings attach? Who’s tank can you fill? Who’s lunch can you buy? Who can you give a ride to? Who’s lawn can you mow? Who can you sit with at lunch? Go LOVE the God you cannot see by LOVING the neighbor you can see.
Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus