First Priority (By Shane Prewitt)

One day, Jesus was walking down the street and a guy came up to him and asked him this question: “Which is the greatest commandment?” (Matthew 22:36) This question was asked by a lawyer sent by the religious leaders who were looking for a way to entrap Jesus in his words so that He would condemn Himself and give them a reason to sentence Him to death.
Jesus knew what the lawyer and the religious leaders were up to and answered the question in a way that left them astounded.
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40, emphasis added).
With His answer, Jesus was able to not only leave the religious leaders without accusation, but He gave us a summary of the Law. According to Jesus, the greatest aspirations that any of us could give ourselves is to love God and love one another. Without question, the greatest thing we can give ourselves to is summarized in this small little word, “Love”.
The Apostle Paul echoed these words in I Corinthians 13:13, So now faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love (emphasis added).
As Christians, it’s easy for us to get ourselves immersed in a lot of good activity. The church is filled with opportunities to serve and get involved. And make no mistake about it, serving is essential. But good activity and worthwhile action can never match selfless love. A person could serve out of wrong motives.
Perhaps they serve out of duty. They feel like it is their obligation.
Perhaps they serve out of fear. They fear that if they don’t serve, God will punish them.
Perhaps they serve out of tradition. They serve today because they have always done it in the past.
But when a person truly loves God, then service is not born out of duty, fear, or tradition, but instead is born out of a heart of worship. To love God and to love one another as Christ calls us to must begin with an understanding of how much we are loved by Him. We will never truly understand how to love unless we know what it means to be loved.
And the place to begin understanding what love is really like, is to look no further than the cross.
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8, emphasis added).
Loving God and loving one another is the greatest commandment that we are called to give ourselves to in this life. To truly be able to do that, we must first understand the depths and riches of His love for us. Only when we truly understand what it means to be loved, will we in turn learn what it means to truly love.