“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” — Matthew 22:37-40
Sports people tend to enjoy checklists; it comes from many of us being Type A personalities. We delight in accomplishing tasks and take great thrill in going through tasks and processes. In fact, most of the creation of our processes is a process. So much of how we view our lives comes down to this simple thought: If I do this, at this time, in this step of the process, I can achieve what I need to achieve. And the more complex, more expansive we make the process, the better we will be able to prepare ourselves for whatever is to come, whether in business, personal life, finances or whatever comes our way.
But why doesn’t the checklist for a successful life in this world fulfill us like we think it will? Why is there a void we work so hard to fill, the emptiness we seek so desperately to avoid? Why is it nothing of this world ever fills it perfectly? The answer is simple — the checklist for fulfillment isn’t found in the ways of the world. Instead, it’s found in a deep and abiding relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
God’s checklist for fulfillment isn’t rooted in how much money we make, how many nice vacations we go on, or how many nice compliments we get on our latest accomplishments. Quite simply, fulfillment won’t ever be found in these things alone. Jesus was very direct in giving a checklist for living a fulfilled, joyful life in Matthew 22:37-40: “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
So many of our checklists are rooted in us, not in loving God and loving others. What does accomplishing my daily tasks mean if I don’t showcase my love for Jesus and for my brothers and sisters in Christ during the process? How does any sum of money I make matter if I don’t freely give of God’s resources to help people in need around me? What does a beautiful photograph from a vacation represent if I don’t realize it’s really a moment of sheer joy that came from God blessing us with an experience?
Nothing in this life matters if it isn’t rooted in us loving God with all our hearts, all our souls and all our strength, and loving others around us in His name. And we know, according to the promises God makes repeatedly throughout His Word, that it is this deep relationship with Him that leads to an abiding peace — a fulfillment — that is not rooted in the things of this world but rather of the things that are above it (John 16:33, Matthew 11:28-30).
Whatever is on your checklist this day — going through your grocery list, working on a task at work, managing your finances, serving people around you — I invite you to ask yourself this question: Are my decisions and intentions in doing this activity based on loving God and loving people around me? If our processes start with this question, my question to you is this: How can we fail if we know He won’t fail us, according to His timing and purpose?
— Jon Oglesby
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