“Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mk. 12:31). . . such a simple command and yet so difficult to actually live out. From birth we learn how to get what we want; if we want to eat then we cry, if we want to be held then we cry, if we want to be changed then we cry, if our bellies hurt then we cry. We learn immediately how to get what we want typically through an undesired result. When we grow up you would expect for these things to change, but often times they don’t . We have a tendency to go through life worried about our own wants, desires, and needs and we forget about those around us who also have wants, desires, and needs. We forget and we neglect by focusing on ourselves.
I am reminded of the story of the woman at the well (Jn. 4:1-42) whom Jesus took the time to minister to and to love. Cultural barriers aside Jesus was talking with someone that was in need. She had a need that she had been searching to fill but had never succeeded. When she went to the well to fetch water that day she received so much more than she could have ever imagined. She received life instead of death all because Jesus took the time to listen, not only to what she was saying but also to what the Father was saying. He listened and He acted accordingly in love, as a result she received the living water that she had been searching for. As followers of Jesus Christ we have the same abilities if we allow ourselves to press into them. Learning to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit takes time, but with practice it becomes easier.
Showing love can often be lived out through a giving of our time and through actively listening to those we are in conversation with. When was the last time that you really felt loved and cared for? Was it when someone was listening to how your day went? Was it during a conversation with a friend who was actually willing to listen and put aside their own desires to be heard at the moment so that they could hear you? Our busy lives often times leave us feeling rushed and distracted. They can keep us from really connecting with others. We often ask how people are doing in passing all the while knowing that we will probably just get a “I’m doing fine” and be able to continue on our way without much of a burden, but what happens when we notice something that tells us they are not doing fine? Do we stop and engage in conversation and try to listen or do we just pass on by?
Jesus didn’t just pass by the woman at the well, He took the time to listen to her and care for her. There is a lot of talk about love right now with Valentine’s day right around the corner, but we should be talking about love all the time. We are told that the greatest commandment is to love God with the entirety of our being and that the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves. I know I need to spend more time loving my neighbors and I definitely need to have a heart of worship towards the Father in all that I do. Love is more than a feeling, it is action with intent. What is your intent today? Could you bring someone to Christ by loving them? Do you need to start by reconnecting with our Father? Where ever you are today in your walk with the Lord it is your choice to love and be obedient or to ignore and possibly miss being someone’s last chance at finding their way home. Life is short, how will you be remembered for living it?