A ministerial friend of mine recently asked their congregation to “take on the character of Jesus” while imploring them to “do more good things” in the community. “Volunteer, get involved in neighborhood improvement projects, feed the poor and the hungry, visit the elderly – that sort of thing . . .”
None of which, of course, is a bad idea.
But what about the “first part?” I wondered.
What about love for and the seeking of a relationship with the Father? Which, biblically speaking, always comes first. Even Jesus’ “Great Commandment” says, “Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind”, before adding, “And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Most churches these days seem to have reversed the two or simply dropped the “Love the Lord Thy God” part all together – as in, “just do good works for others and all will be well.”
After all, if you do that you’re bound to eventually get “the rest of it.”
Yeah, well maybe.
And maybe not.
As observed in C.S. Lewis’s “The Screwtape Letters,” Substituting the good for the best by obfuscation, reordering and switching up a “good” basic understanding is indeed one of the evil-one’s greatest tools and he seems to do it nowhere more effectively than in today’s institutional church.
So wash one another’s feet to be sure. A lot.
But first seek a right relationship with your Heavenly Father.
– Stuart Revercomb