Scripture selection: Luke 10:25

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” 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 neighbor as yourself.’” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

It was a complicated question.  An expert in the law asked the secret to obtaining eternal life.

Jesus gave a simple answer: love God and love others.

That is, he gave what appears to be a simple answer.

In fact, it is one of the most difficult things we can do.

Life in all its complexities; human nature being what it is; the world’s contradicting demands what they are – I think many of us would say this instruction to love isn’t always “easily” done.

On the other hand, maybe we complicate things too much.

Jesus calls us to love as we have been loved.   No rationalization will do; no excuses – we are simply to show that we love God (who loves us so much) by putting our needs and desires in proper perspective to the needs and desires of others.

Love our enemy?  It’s anything but easy.

Jesus doesn’t let us off the hook though.

So, simple or not, there it is – the challenge of discipleship.

The next time you struggle with it, I would remind you of how much God loves you, and how often God has shown you his mercy, even when you were completely in the wrong.

Then think of the situation – the person with whom – you are in conflict, remembering God loves that person just as much as God loves you.

Maybe it will simplify things a bit.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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