"Second Place" - Crosswalk the Devotional - Jan. 28, 2011

January 28, 2011


Second Place
Ryan Duncan, TheFish.com Editor

 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.'"  Matthew 22:37-39

I love the Olympics. No matter what the season, no matter where it's held, I'm always at my TV watching the world's athletes compete for the top spot. I love the exhilaration, the suspense that comes with watching the events, and I can't help feeling a swell of pride when an American wins a gold medal. The thing is, I also can't help feeling sorry for the guy (or girl) who won second place. Everyone swarms in to congratulate the gold medalist, but the runner up is largely ignored.

They may be just as skilled, just as strong, and worked just as hard in competition, but because of a small misstep, they end up going unnoticed.

I feel like the loss of making that one, fatal misstep applies to the times we live the Christian faith out poorly. When faced with a tough issue, our kneejerk reaction is to focus on rule number 1: Love and obey God, and to completely ignore everything else.

The problem is, we forget that the first step to loving God is loving others! Instead, we end up falling back onto all sorts of other commandments, and we use them as a way to ground our faith. Unfortunately, while these other commandments are important, they still leave us unprepared for when we hit the world's spiritually gray areas.

The bible says homosexuality is a sin, but what happens when a family member confesses to being gay? The Bible says that divorce should be discouraged, but what do you say to a friend who just caught their spouse cheating? The Bible says to help the poor, but what if they spend your gifts on drugs and alcohol?   

In Matthew 25 verse 40, Jesus told his disciples that when they had compassion on others, they were also showing compassion to him. If we forget this, our responses to life's tough questions become cold, detached, and even cruel. We end up trading the action of loving God for the idea of loving God.

Only by connecting love for Christ and love for others, do we become effective tools for serving God. Otherwise, how can we expect to accomplish anything? Like my old pastor once said, "What good is a car if you don't have the keys to the ignition?"         

Intersecting Faith and Life  
Take some time to pray and ask God for help when facing life's tough questions.  

Further Reading
Matthew 25:31-46  


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