|In Luke chapter ten, Yeshua gives a little trilogy on love. From verse 25 to 28, He explains to a rabbi that the central principle of the Law of Moses is not religious ritual but love – first to love God and secondly to love one’s neighbor.
The rabbi asked a question about how to receive eternal life. Yeshua did not tell the rabbi to believe that He (Yeshua) was the Messiah. Rather, He asked him to explain what was written in the Law. It was the rabbi who gave the answer. (His answer is similar to the position credited to the school of Rabbi Hillel of the first century.)
Yeshua affirmed that the rabbi answered correctly as to the meaning of the Torah, and that the dual “love” commandment would lead to eternal life. Ah, but then comes the application. It’s easy to see the Pharisees of Yeshua’s day as hypocrites. But the same problems face us. Yeshua wasn’t just talking about them; He was talking about us.
These two basic laws – loving God and loving our neighbor, are so simple. How is it that we so easily mess it up? Yeshua gives two examples: one mistake about loving God and one mistake about loving our neighbor. The examples apply to everyone; and particularly to people serving in “ministry”, especially ministry “leaders”.
The first example – the Good Samaritan, shows how a leader in ministry can miss the principle of loving his neighbor. The ministry leaders (priest and Levite) are so focused on their ministry and the importance of their priestly calling, that for the sake of their “service to God,” they can’t waste time and effort to help this “low priority” person who is hurting and in need.
The second example – that of Martha, shows how a person with much ministry responsibility can miss the principle of loving God. Martha is one of Yeshua’s closest disciples, and one of the most responsible and hard-working. She became so involved in her responsibilities that she missed the opportunity to love the Lord. She also became offended at her sister. Her serving replaced her loving (Revelation 2:4).
Let’s learn from Martha and the Samaritan so that we can keep loving God and loving our neighbor as our first priorities.