The Greatest Commands & Your Giftedness

We are all familiar with the confrontation between Jesus and a lawyer in Matthew 22:34-40.   The lawyer wanted to know what the greatest command was.   Jesus answered:  love God with all your being, and love your neighbor as yourself (Irwin paraphrase).  Jesus said there was a greatest commandment as it relates to our God and one that relates to our fellow and sister human beings.

We usually quote Romans 13:8-10 to illustrate what it means to love our neighbor: love does no harm to its neighbor.  In other words, the spirit of the law of Christ is love and when we love our neighbors we do only good for them and obeying the Lord is a form of doing good towards our neighbor.  We also understand to love God is to obey Him (1 John 5:3).

But how do these greatest commands apply to the blessings we enjoy as Christians?   How do we express our love for the Lord and our neighbors with our spiritual gifts, passions and other blessings that God has richly bestowed on us?

We express our love for the Lord by using our gifts to further His Will on earth.   Long story made short, we use what God has entrusted to us to further His will in private life, in public life, in the life of the church, etc.   We do not exploit His gifts for selfish or evil purposes but for HIS good purposes.   God is glorified by such action and much good is accomplished and the church grows numerically and spiritually.   God is exalted by such love.

We express our love for our neighbors by using our gifts to bless them.   When I use my gift of compassion (for example) to serve my neighbor, he/she is blessed by my benevolent acts towards him/her.   When I use my gift of teaching for the good of my neighbor, he/she hears and hopefully obeys the gospel.   When I use my life experiences, life skills and education for the benefit of others it is a win-win situation:  God is gloried, I fulfill my God-given purpose and people are blessed.   Life is better for all involved.

We are stewards (managers) of all that God has given us.   Paul says that stewards are to be faithful (cf. 1 Cor.4:2).   We are faithful stewards when we love our God and love our neighbors [as we love ourselves] by using all the blessings the Lord has given us for the furtherance of His will on earth and as we bless the lives of those around us.   Such stewardship is true stewardship.   Our blessings are not only for our good.  They are also to be used for the extension of God’s kingdom and for the welfare of others in and out of the church.

Are you using God’s blessings to fulfill the Greatest Commands?   Are you a faithful steward of all that God has put into your care?

Travis Irwin

Involvement Minister, Athens, TN