When it comes to the “doing” part of our discipleship, the central call of Christ is expressed in his response to the question, “Which commandment in the law is the greatest?” (Matt. 22:35, NRSV). Because the commandments are calls to living out our relationship with God in specific and concrete ways, Jesus’ response provides clear insight into what we should be doing as followers of Jesus.
At first glance, we might think that Jesus’ response was not very specific. We think of “love” as an emotion, a feeling, or a state of mind. Jesus understood it as a central, active expression of our core values and our being. It is not just a warm, fuzzy feeling. Loving God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength is a totally comprehensive description of the very central construct of who we are—of our very beings. Love establishes specific parameters for the way we live—our actions, our deeds, our commitments, our values, and our use of our time, attention, and effort.
The transition from being to doing is difficult only if we have failed to realize how great God’s initiative of grace has been in leading us to the full and abundant life. Any other response to the gracious gifts God has given in guiding us to the fulfillment of our deepest needs and in forming our identities as children of God living within a family of faith will be inadequate. The selfish love that drives our deepest needs is transformed into loving God and neighbor with the same intensity that we once loved ourselves.
“Because I have been given much I too must give” becomes part our response to grace; but that giving falls under the larger umbrella of “Because I have been loved much I too must love.” Column 5 in the “Making Disciples” Chart spells out the deeds that flow from our loving God, and column 6 spells out the corresponding deeds that express our loving our neighbors as ourselves.
NOTE: The “Making Disciples” chart is available to you via email. Send an email message to: firstname.lastname@example.org.