Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Putting Jesus First

What does it look like to put Jesus first?

Jesus said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment."  Matthew 22:37-38.  To many people this means that you go to worship service at least once a week; make prayer, including table prayer, a major part of your life; and help at church in whatever capacity you can.

All of this is correct, but I would like to present an additional requirement.  Jesus also said, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is.' because the kingdom of God is within you."  Think about that.  Jesus lives in you, in me, in neighbors, co-workers, people on the streets, people all over the world.  When you cut someone off in traffic, let a door swing in someone's face, turn your back and ignore someone when they need help, or withhold a kind word that could give someone a lift, who is the recipient of your actions?  According to Jesus, you are doing all of this to Jesus, not just the person you see.

I would like to suggest that we all need to pay more attention to the way we treat each other.  In God's eyes everyone is equal.  The CEO of a major company is equal to the man losing his home to foreclosure; the man driving a 75 thousand dollar car is equal to the man forced to use public transportation because he cannot afford to buy a car; and the young man graduating from college with honors is equal to the old man who can no longer recognize his family due to Alzheimer's.  A smile, a thank-you, a helping hand are all given first to Jesus and then to the person that you see.  To put Jesus first requires worship, prayer, and helping at church, but also putting the needs of others before your own needs; definitely not an easy accomplishment.

Remember Jesus words in Matthew 25:40, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."