When God breathes. (Rise and close your eyes)
Read Gen 2:7- And the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of LIFE and the man became a living being.
Breathe in and let it out – That’s minus one of breaths remaining before you go and meet your maker.
Breathe in slowly and again try to hold and release slowly- Let the breath reach your body, feel it in your lungs, hear your heart beat, tingle your fingers and toes, feel it in your muscles, is there a strain, a pain a hunger a body movement- You just felt God’s LIFE in your body, You have answered what you are- a living being, with needs of clothing, food, shelter, thank God your body is healthy and responding. LOVE God with all your body
Breathe in again and release slowly- This time let the breath run to your soul, let this air travel to your thoughts, concerns and worries, what are your feelings, are you happy, sad, anxious, angry, curious- You just felt God’s LIFE in who you are, a human soul. You are not just a physical body; you are a person with feelings, will and thoughts. LOVE God with all your Soul
Breathe in again and release slowly- Now this time let this air penetrate to your spirit. Your body is what you are, your soul is who you are, and your spirit responds to the question whose you are? Feel God telling you that He loves you and you are his child, you are forgiven, you are loved, you are significant, accepted and secure in Christ, You are raised from death to sin and alive in Christ, You are God’s temple, you are created for his glory. LOVE God with all your spirit. (Open your eyes and sit down)
There are a lot of things you can go many days without. As hard as it may sound, you can go many days without your phone, your food, your work or your Daily News paper. On the contrary, we cannot go a single day without LOVE. As absurd as it may sound, the things we think cannot do without become some of the greatest obstacles to the thing we need most. God’s Love is not just a cherry on the ice-cream or a top up, God’s LOVE is the very LIFE in our lungs. This LIFE is expressed in our relationships to others through words, laughter, cries, hugs; this LIFE is expressed through relationships. When we give LOVE we give LIFE, when we receive LOVE we receive LIFE.
This month of May, We begin the “40days of Love” Series. This is a build up on the Introductory May series “Never walk alone” that focused on getting everyone into Soul Groups. These Soul groups will be key in practicing the relationship principles of Jesus that we will be learning through the series.
Our aim is to establish these soul groups as avenues of discipleship and mentorship for the church, where one’s convictions, relationships and sense of mission and purpose is developed and matured through the practice of LOVE.
Turn with me to our Main Text (Lk 10:25-37)
Another expert of the law rises to test Jesus and make a religious show off. He asks “What must I do I inherit eternal life?
Again this question reveals a lot about the religious practice of the time. Many people had come to Jesus to ask these kinds of questions “what must I do” This question was based on the Law, As an expert of the Law, ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ was the underlining principle of their religion. For them faith was a matter of Do’s and Don’ts, But Jesus answer was not so much on the Do’s but Be’s. Don’t do, but become. As we will see in this story.
He answered, Love the Lord with all your heart and with all you soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbor as you love yourself.
Having given a smart answer, Jesus affirms him and says “Do this and you will live”. But something in that simple answer still disturbed him and may have caused him a little embarrassment before the other experts; He asked then” who is my neighbor?
Please note how this question arises and how Jesus answers it. The troubling question was not so much about loving God, but loving your neighbor. The people used in this story (the Priest and the Levite) were understood to be the ones who loved God, yet they failed in loving their neighbor, yet the Samaritans who were considered enemies and heathens demonstrated LOVE more than they.
As we have emphasized last month, Your Love for your neighbor is a true reflection of your love for God otherwise it is dead religion like that of the Pharisees and Levites you are just being pious.
Yes the Levite and the priest had good reason to stay away; they would become ceremonially unclean to touch what they must have thought was a dead person. It was Law not to touch, the sight of the man lying down would make them pass on the other side rushing to more important religious duties. But the Samaritan did just the opposite
He drew near, touched him, nursed him, and carried him into an inn, paid to have him attended. He did not consider his religion, He just saw a man in need. He was the true Neighbor.
Today my simple thesis is this LOVE Matters Most
As you can see, the Bible can be summarized in this words- LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart, mind strength and soul and love your neighbor as you love yourself. If this is the core of our faith LOVE needs to be a priority. The bible says in 1 Cor 14:1- Let LOVE be your highest Goal.
How many of you feel like a priority to someone? If that wounded man was you, who do you think would pass by, who do you think would nurse you? How have you shown that people are a priority?
Relationships are more important than Money: In Mathew, Jesus emphasized that Life consists more than just eating and drinking and building a career. In another place the scriptures ask, “What shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and loose his soul? Have we lost our souls in pursuit of money, career. Do we pass people and opportunities to LOVE? Yes we may not stop at everyone’s need, but who have you been a Samaritan to. If this is the practice of our faith, everyday God presents us this opportunity, If we are keen enough to listen, There is always someone injured as the man on that road and in need of our attention.
The essence of being human is LOVE. The ability to experience or give LOVE is what makes us human. At the core I identify with you, because you are as human as I am, you are not an object, a concept, an activity but a person. When you pass someone, it’s not a tree you passed or as in this case a dead ‘dog’ but a person.
Do you feel prioritized, we must be careful that time for meaningful relationship is not chewed up by demands and careers. People invest in money, career and education, but we do not invest in LOVE and yet we place the highest expectations on these relationships.
Do you feel like a project or like a person? Do we check into our homes or come/Go Home. Checking home is like going to a hotel to rest refresh and get out the next morning, Going home is like the way we go shags, we plan it, prepare our minds, budgets for it, plan the gatherings and discussions and sometimes even shut down from work concerns.
Relationships are more important than tasks- The priests and the Levite were off to important tasks probably of serving in the temple, but it is clear to Jesus that even this was a more urgent and important task. They were rushing to present a dead sacrifice to the Lord, and missed the opportunity to offer a living sacrifice to the Lord. There is the lie that the task you are doing is more important than the people for whom you are doing the task for. God does not demand us to accomplish great things but he does demand that we strive for excellence in our relationships.
So take time and be there. So stop by and be there, So commit and be there, Be the neighbor. (Lord what would you want me to be this year)
LOVE is not only the Supreme Value but LOVE is also the primary objective of LIFE
If you don’t Live a life of LOVE nothing you say will matter. Yes a lot will be said of your career and moneys, but the most impactful will be the time you spent investing LIFE in words and moments shared with your children, spouse, friends, soul group, people. Without Love, Remember we may be like a resounding Gong. If the Pharisee, the Levite and the Samaritan were to attempt to convert the man, who do you think would win?
If you don’t Live a life of LOVE nothing you know will matter. The Levite and Pharisees were experts of the law, they were knowledgeable but they missed it. Knowledge does not transform people, it only informs, LOVE transforms people. We LOVE people out of stubbornness, out of harm’s way, we LOVE people to be better persons. Knowledge falls short but LOVE truly transforms. It is said that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
If you don’t live a life of LOVE nothing you believe will matter: Our faith is betrayed sometimes by our lack of love. How can you say you love God whom you cannot see when you do not love your brother whom you can see? God in His wisdom knows that your relationship with your neighbor is equally important as your relationship with Him.
As you can see, If you don’t live a life of LOVE nothing you accomplish matters:
If someone asked you, what do you think about first thing in the morning? What is your last thought in the day, why do you do the things you do? Imagine that answer “I’ve been thinking about you”. Here is a week challenge Try and start every of your conversations like this “I’ve been thinking about you”, Try and imagine the conversation.
LOVE is not only the Supreme Value, It’s also not just the greatest Objective it is also the Greatest Power.
LOVE gives LIFE. For God so loved that He gave. God’s LIFE in us is our greatest power to LOVE. When we LOVE we give LIFE when we withhold LOVE we become dead. That day a soul was revived because a Samaritan demonstrated LOVE, not because there was much prayer, not because there was much preaching.