“‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’ And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.’”
California fires number in the hundreds across the state and locally the Carmel Fire alone destroyed 50 homes and 23 structures. Most certainly you know someone who has experienced a deep loss this past week. We continue to pray for the fires here, north of us and beyond to be eradicated and for losses to be kept at a minimum. Perhaps you were affected in some way. Everyone has the opportunity to assess the losses and consider what really matters. No matter how secure we may think our possessions and acquisitions are, ultimately we do not have control over them. Everyone I spoke to who was evacuating said something like this to me: “I’ll try to take the most important things with me but ultimately most stuff can be replaced.” I don’t want to minimize the horrible losses. I do want to emphasize that each of us should hold onto our possessions very lightly.
When the 2018 Paradise Fire ravaged the whole town, it also destroyed many of the church buildings. Hope Christian Church was leveled by the fires but one structure somehow withstood the devastation: the cross. On this cross it says: “Love God. Love people.” When Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment, He pointed to these two commands. When He returns He probably won’t ask us about church attendance, budgets or buildings. But He will measure us by how we loved Him and loved others.
In the end God wants us to love Him and love others. I pray you don’t have to experience a great loss to realize this truth that Jesus spoke 2000 years ago and wants us to consider today.
Living Out the Word of God
Love God: spend time with the LORD this week repenting of a lackadaisical spirit that doesn’t make Him a priority every day.
Love others: Visit our website to find ways to directly help someone affected by the fires.
Jesus, you taught us what is most important. Help me to worship You fully and serve others eagerly. We continue to pray for those affected by the fires. Strengthen and protect first responders. Comfort those who have experienced losses. Show me how to support someone today who needs a word of hope. Remind me to pause sometime later today to worship You and serve someone in need. Amen.