There’s a saying of Jesus in Mark’s Gospel that parallels The Golden Rule and lays down a simple ideology that many people would consider oversimplified in our complicated society of subjective morality.
Subjective morality, some believe, is where each person should decide their own what is right or wrong and accept of all views with tolerance. In a classroom or a book on philosophy, pluralism (to each his own) can sound logical.
Dr. Ravi Zacharias, the popular Christian apologist, was asked by someone who believes in subjective morality about this very thing and he replied, “Do you lock your doors at night?”
When this person replied, “Yes," Zacharias said “This shows that you might be intolerant of the someone else who believes burglary or murder would be justified according to their personal values? That disproves your stand on subjective morality.”
Believing there is a God is a “given” since polls reveal that 86 percent of all Americans believe in a supreme deity. Discussions on how to please our Creator, can bring many different answers in today’s culture. When Jesus was pressed to answer, “Which commandment is the most important?,” He cut to the chase and made it very simple.
Thou shalt love the lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength, and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. (Mark 12:30-31)
This is the essential commandment we have from our Lord that covers all others. Understand also that at this time, Jesus was probably also addressing the fact that there were 613 Rabbinical laws in the Jewish Torah that people were asked to follow. Even so, Jesus quickly answered the complicated question and reported to the world, “If you follow these two things, you’ve covered them all.”
Think about it: The first four of the Ten Commandments (in Exodus 20) deal with loving God first, abstaining from idolatry against God, respecting the holy name of God and keeping the sabbath holy for God. The last six of the Ten Commandments deal with loving people; honoring parents, abstaining from murder, being faithful to our marriage partners, respecting the property of others, avoiding a false witness against someone and not coveting someone else’s possessions. All covered.
There is a story of the Sunday school teacher who was reviewing the Ten Commandments with her class and asking the children which one was which. “Which one talks about our church?” she asked, and Johnny said, “Remember the Sabbath.” “Which two talk about our speech?” she asked and Jenny said, “Thou shalt not swear and thou shalt not lie.” Finally, the teacher asked, “Which one talks about our parents?” and Billy answered, “Honor your father and mother.” Then one student in the back row asked, “Is there a commandment about brothers and sisters?” and Johnny blurted out, “Yeah, thou shalt not kill.”
I also love that Scripture in Galatians 6:9, “Let us not be weary in well doing for in due season we will reap, if we faint not,” because it promises “reaping” or “reward” when we do good in the sight of God. That being said, we can stop and ask, “Exactly what good things are we supposed to do to reap this harvest?”
Here again, we’ll remember Jesus’ simple answer, “Love God and love others as yourself.” It may sound too easy at this point. So much so, we may be tempted to dismiss it’s urgency as we deal with countless issues in our everyday lives. Here’s another question to ponder, “What if we don’t do this? What’s the harm?”
Pastor Robert Morris recently told the story of four experienced fishermen who entered into an international fishing contest with a million-dollar prize for the biggest Atlantic Marlin. People from all over were trying to qualify to win this big prize and these 4 fishermen had teamed up on their fishing boat to try their luck catching a prize winning Marlin. Their efforts paid off as they landed a Marlin that was over 1,000 pounds and they brought it in with celebration and dreams of spending all that money. It was the biggest catch of the contest but unfortunately it was discovered that one of the four fishermen forgot to get their fishing license and their team, along with their Marlin, were all disqualified.
Please don’t miss your blessing. Remember, Jesus said in Luke 6:38, “Give and it shall be given unto you, pressed down, shaken together and running over.” This pertains to many things, not just money. Remembering also, “For God so loved the world, He gave…” (John 3:16). Loving God and others as yourself has to involve giving of yourself. Bottom line: loving brings blessing and you cannot love without giving.