January 30, 2009 • By Ed Wrather
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.” - Matthew 22:36-38 NKJV.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. - Matthew 6:33 NKJV.
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. - 1 John 2:14-15 NKJV.
Sunday night is the Super Bowl in football and we all know where we will be Sunday night. We will be watching football, the glitter of the halftime show, and all of those million dollar commercials. Now, a few of you are thinking, “…not me, I’m going to be at church listening to my pastor preach another wonderful sermon.” Some of you pastors are thinking, “…not me, I’m going to be preaching another sermon while that football game is being played.” You know, that football game does not matter to me at all. I don’t care who wins it. Of course, my favorite team is not playing this year!
Sometimes reality creeps into the picture when we are talking about loving God, and we have to do more than just talk about it. Sometimes we have to actually demonstrate our love for God. During the summer it may be that instead of spending two days at the lake on the weekend that we just spend one day so that we can attend church on Sunday. During a basketball season, we may have to make a stand and on Wednesday nights attend church even though there is a basketball tournament planned for that night. Instead of taking off for a weekend of hunting maybe one day would be enough so that we can still be in church on Sunday.
In the past schools and other programs would not dare to plan an activity on a Sunday or a Wednesday that would conflict with church services. Those days are long past because very few people wanted to demonstrate their actual love for God by making the choice to attend church instead of those other activities.
Those choices and demonstration of love for God pale in comparison to the demonstrations that many have had to make in the past and still make today. In the roll call of the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11 we read at the end of the chapter, “Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented - of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth (Hebrews 11:35-38).” Many still today have to demonstrate their faith in ways that result sometimes in their torture or even death. Persecution dot org states that there are some 200 million Christians who suffer for their faith every day.
Do you really love God? Or, do you just talk about it?