Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
When the religious were trying to overcomplicate things, even confuse things, Jesus really made it clear. Almost as if he were establishing a hierarchy of things. As if he was telling them that all their rules, prohibitions, laws, judgments, tips and techniques are pretty much worthless if you aren’t first accomplishing these two simple (but not easy) things:
I think the lack of this…the lack of the reciprocal of this…is all our deepest longing. When the bible talks about all creation groaning for the coming Kingdom and the restoration of all things, I think this is one of the things we are groaning for most deeply.
Connection. belonging, someone to fight for as they are fighting for us, etc. To be known, seen, contended for, and loved. A table that is set for us with a unique place for us to sit. Fred Rogers said that love or lack of love is at the root of every solution and every problem.
I think this was at the heart of…
almost every relationship I’ve had
every home group I have been a part of
every larger faith gathering
even a failed church that was birthed out of our house
Every larger gathering is trying to break into smaller ones (at least for one night a week) to get closer to this. They all want to cultivate small fellowships of the heart that the larger gathering almost seems to be preventing by its’ form and function.
I once printed copies of the chapter “Fellowships of the Heart” from John Eldredge’s Waking the Dead and distributed it to the members of our five family home groups before a weekend getaway. I wanted to share the idea, get everyone swept up in the possibility, and extract commitments from everyone. I was long on heart and short on discernment and leadership.
They all seem interested in taking a deeper and bolder step, but nothing became of it.
A friend and fellow home group participant just shared page 178-179 from I’ll Push You by Justin Skeesuck. He dared greatly and asked that we all read it and give him some feedback. I was humbled by his courage to risk this with us. It brought to mind many things: The intentionality behind the last supper, what Jesus was saying when he talked about the two great commandments, and the deepest longing in all of us.
Hope arises again. My groaning rests. I will likely not know what deep fellowship, love, community, and restoration of all things really feels like this side of the Kingdom eternal, but I’ll never stop hoping.
A little secret: I think this is the deeper and greater desire that every person carries into their work and workplace. It is why simple things seem to become such big things, why things are so emotionally charged, and why so many engagements end in disappointment and failure.
Am I painting with too broad a brush?
Am I connecting too many dots?
Am I adding 1 + 2 and coming up with 10?
Maybe, but I don’t think so. We will spend our entire lives trying to requite our deepest desires. We are looking for answers everywhere. I think we are finding them less and less and so the groaning is rising more and more. Don’t believe me, just read the papers and check the evening news.
Like no other time in history, making sure our families, companies, etc. are about something (values, purpose), that they are clearly going somewhere (vision), and that we are relentless about creating healthy environments where people are known, seen, and loved has never been more important.
I think everything depends on it.
I know that everything Jesus came to bring us rests on it.
Do the people you employ, the members of your family, and even the participants in your other gatherings feel known, accepted and loved?
How deeply do you think you might change lives if that was the offering of the things you lead?
What needs to happen next to move in that direction?