Daily Devotional


The Second Greatest Commandment

by Simon Whitton

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
26 "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"
27 He answered: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbour as yourself.'"
28 "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."

Luke 10:25-28(NIV)

During my morning commute I had driven past a woman who had a flat tire; and this was in the days before most women had cell phones.  I hadn't wanted to be late for work.  But on the way home I was feeling bad that I hadn't stopped to help her.  As I waited at a red traffic light, I said to the Lord, 'next time I come across someone who's broken down, I will stop and help them'.  The traffic light turned green, and the car in front of me didn't move.  A woman had broken down!  I was able to help push her car out of the intersection and into a nearby garage.

After our scripture passage above, Jesus tells the story of 'the good Samaritan' where a man is robbed, stripped and beaten, then left half dead.  A priest and Levite pass by on the other side of the road, deciding not to help; but a Samaritan took pity on him and generously helped.

It's likely the priest and Levite passed by on the other side because they thought the victim may be dead; and they didn't want to risk becoming ritually unclean by being in the presence of a dead body.  We all have our priorities, but what are God's priorities?

8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow-man has fulfilled the law.
9 The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbour as yourself."

Romans 13:8-9 (NIV)

Unfortunately, many of God's people in the first century were hung up on the less important laws:

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices-- mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected
the more important matters of the law-- justice, mercy and faithfulness.
You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

Matthew 23:23 (NIV)

Do we have our priorities right?  We may be giving a tenth of our income, but are we practicing the important matters of the law, like justice, mercy, and faithfulness?  Do we think getting to work on time is more important than loving our neighbour?

The Lord was not impressed by the priest and the Levite's priorities, which was probably ritual purity.  He alluded to this in the way the Samaritan ministered to the victim who lay beside the road.

He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine.
Luke 10:34a(NIV)

Oil and wine were often listed among the offerings made to the Lord by the priests and Levites; they had storehouses full.

All Judah brought the tithes of grain, new wine and oil into the storerooms.
Nehemiah 13:12 (NIV)

The Lord has also given each of us storehouses full of potential offerings.  But how will you use them?  You may maintain a clean life and you may be giving a tenth; but are you helping others, do you 'love your neighbour as yourself'? When you do, you fulfill the law, and you are pouring out offerings of new wine and oil before the Lord.

Spend some time praying, and ask the Lord to make His priorities yours, and for the courage to take risks.  Pray that He would show you people in your life that you should love, and that you would love them with the generosity of the Samaritan; and that this would be your offering.


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