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 neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:9-10
In today’s passage, the Apostle Paul reminds the saints in Rome about Christ’s response to a teacher of the law about which commandments were important. Of course, Mark records that Jesus declared the greatest commandment is, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Then Mark continues saying Jesus declared the second greatest commandment is, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This is what the Apostle Paul was trying to get his brothers and sisters in Christ to completely understand and commit their lives to.
I am reminded of what Rudolf Steiner, the Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect, and esotericist who made it his life work to find a synthesis between science and spirituality, said about love. He claimed the following: “Love is higher than opinion. If people love one another the most varied opinions can be reconciled – thus one of the most important tasks for humankind today and in the future is that we should learn to live together and understand one another.” If only we could do as the Apostle Paul and Rudolf Steiner both professed.
The writer of Hebrews also instructs us to consider something quite similar, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).” He inspires us to do better in our Christian faith by spurring each other on to love and good deeds. When I think of the word spur, I think of the boot device used by horse riders. The rider doesn’t have to use the spur very often on a well-trained horse. The slap of the reins, a tap of his hand, or even the toe of his boot will encourage the horse to move faster. However, if the horse is tired or contrary, the rider may dig his spurs into the horse’s flanks to motivate him to move faster.
Each time I read this passage from Hebrews, I realize how often many Christians are like a tired contrary horse. They need someone to spur them on as well. Since my diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, I need to be spurred on to love and good deeds because I often just want to stay at home and avoid going out into the world because sometimes my words don’t flow well and communication is more difficult.
Thankfully, my heavenly Father has better plans for me than staying at home in the barn so to speak. Through His urging, I receive a call from a friend who needs my help moving a couch, mowing a yard, trimming a hedge, or doing a minor house repair for someone who needs assistance. Once again I am spurred on to love and good deeds by my Christian brothers and in so doing, I am “loving my neighbor as myself!” How about you?