Simple thought that Jesus uses to describe a Christian, yet we tend to make this overly complex... Is it really as hard we make it out to be? [Matt. 22:36-40] To get a little context: Jesus had silenced the Sadducees (a religious group much like Pharisees) so the Pharisees heard about this and gathered together. One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him. He asks "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" This is where verse 36 picks up. Jesus answers him "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. [Deut. 6:5] This is the great and foremost commandment. The second: Love your neighbor as yourself. [Lev. 19:18] On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets." Therefore we get Love God. Love others.
I like how Jesus answers the lawyer. The lawyer thought he would test Jesus. But Jesus answers with a very simple response. He was the first one to combine those two texts from the Old Testament to summarize the Law. Is this as hard we make it out to be? Loving God and loving others? Jesus expects us to do this.
Love your neighbor as yourself...well could that mean, if we took it literally, that what you spend on yourself, you ought to spend the same amount on others? Love your neighbor as yourself. I'm not going to tell you what to do, but God might. Would you listen if He called you do give 50% of your income to missions? Would you? But maybe it's not all about money? Love your neighbor as yourself...ok how do you spend your time? Would you be willing to spend 50% of your time doing something for others? It's in the Bible people! I'm just trying to help you understand that this is what God expects from us. I don't know how else to take "Love your neighbor as yourself."
Love God. Do I need to go into that? When He says take up your cross and follow me. [Matt. 16:24-25] Have you ever thought about that? Or do you say that without thinking? The cross. This is what Jesus died on. The cross in Bible times symbolized death. It was what the used to kill people. Jesus couldn't mean "Take up your cross" like that could He? Well, how else to you take that? But, what Jesus is after is a heart that is willing to lose their life for His sake because they love Him that much. That's serious love. Do you love Jesus like that?
So I end with these few remarks. It's not me who's telling you right now to give 50% of your income away to the poor. No, that's not me. It's God. I pray that God would use these words to help people better understand what it means to: Love God. Love Others.