Love God; love your neighbor

Matthew 22--37

The Verse of the Day for February 25, 2015 is part of the dialogue between the “rich young ruler,” who asks Jesus Christ, “What must I do to be saved?”

Matthew 22:37-39 NIV

Jesus replied: “‘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. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

Not being satisfied with the answer to his question, the young lawyer seeks to justify himself by asking another question: “Who is my neighbor?” The Savior’s response introduces one of the most recognized illustrations, whose influence is still felt centuries beyond the time that it was first spoken: “The Parable of the Good Samaritan.”

I recall teaching the parable in children’s ministry where we emphasized the character trait of compassion:

As we labor, the Kingdom of God is at hand.

We minister just as the Good Samaritan.

We also used this scripture memory song:

I Want to Touch the World with Compassion

Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.

Whatever I give to others, it shall be given back to me,

Not just the same but to an even greater degree.

Lord, help me to be merciful.

May I see with the eyes of Jesus.

Lord, I want to walk in the steps of Jesus

And always be loving and kind.

May I reach out my hand to others,

To heal broken hearts and give sight to the blind.

I want to touch the world with compassion.

I want to do whatever I can.

I want to be like the Good Samaritan.

I want to touch the world with compassion.

I want to do whatever I can.

I want to be like the Good Samaritan.

I want to touch the world with compassion.

Lord, help me touch the world with compassion.

The exchange between the rich, young lawyer and the Lord Jesus makes known the two primary relationships whereby followers can experience salvation: by loving God, first and foremost, and then loving one’s neighbor as oneself. The passage which makes known this truth was the inspiration for the following poem:

Building Godly Relationships

Matthew 22:36-40


God sets aside and keeps for Himself a remnant

Of Godly sons, His beloved, whom He foreknew

And predestinated to keep His covenant,

His righteous ones, called and chosen, faithful and true.

In Christ is defined a Godly relationship,

But we must submit to Jesus and make him Lord

To understand the essence of this true friendship,

Unfolded in these two commandments of God’s Word.

May we renew our vows and never violate

The trust you placed in us but ever seek to find

In you the strength to walk in love and never hate

But to love you with all our heart and soul and mind.

May we no longer be called servant but a friend,

Growing in devotion and faithful to the end.

Israel Houghton offers this reminder: “Love God, Love People”:

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