A lot of people nowadays are desperately seeking happiness. This may seem odd, since our modern society is fabulously prosperous. I’m not minimizing, of course, the fact that there are plenty of people in our nation who are poor and struggling. But overall, the vast majority of citizens nowadays are overwhelmingly blessed, especially when compared to previous generations of Americans. These days most of us have an abundance of food and clothing and comfort and entertainment and electronic devices. People today have much more leisure time than folks did years ago. And yet, far too many of us are unhappy and unfulfilled, and the more we try to make ourselves happy by purchasing more stuff, the more miserable we feel.
Well, I’ve got the answer. I know the key to a happy life. All you have to do if follow the Two Greatest Commandments in the Bible.
Oh, come on now. I saw you. Don’t roll your eyes.
I fully understand that the Commandments in the Bible are not very popular these days. People are convinced that following the Commandments will take away all their fun and make life boring. A lot of people hear the word “commandment” and immediately think of strict rules imposed by oppressive authority figures who only want to keep us in line and obedient. In other words, many folks think biblical commandments will take away all our freedoms and make us miserable.
Well, that could not be further from the truth. The biblical commandments are not designed to take away our fun, they’re designed to keep us from hurting ourselves. The Commandments are not a cage into which we are locked, they are railings on the edge of a cliff that keep us from falling to our deaths.
The Old Testament lists the famous Ten Commandments, but in the New Testament, Jesus summarized these down to a simple and basic two. And the Two Greatest Commands will not in any way make us miserable; they will, instead, fill us with peace and happiness.
When asked which was the greatest commandment in the Law, Jesus said there are two: “Love the Lord your God will all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind…and love your neighbor as yourself.”
What do you mean, “Is that it?” And stop rolling your eyes.
Let me ask you a question. What is a person on his deathbed more likely to say, “I wish I had spent more time at the office,” or, “I wish I had spent more time with my loved ones”?
Correct, his loved ones. And why is this true? Because entering into loving relationships is the whole reason we exist. It’s why God made us. Loving relationships are the true source of joy and happiness and fulfillment, not the latest iPad or a new car or a shopping spree at the mall.
Human beings were created for love. Jesus knows that better than anyone, since He is, as John’s gospel explains, the One through Whom everything in the universe was created. Jesus knows we must enter into two types of loving relationships: the first is with our Creator, and the second is with our fellow human beings.
The Two Greatest Commandments, as explained by Jesus, are the only reliable way to have lasting joy and happiness.
What’s that you say? A new car will make you happy? Well, I’m sure a new car will bring you a lot of delight and pleasure…for a while. But it’s very fleeting, and you certainly can’t take that BMW with you after your time here on earth is over.
Do you want to know what you CAN take with you when your time on earth is over? Your loving relationships. Why don’t you try to follow Jesus’ Two Greatest Commandments? Try to love God more, and love your family and friends more. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much happiness it brings.
And for goodness sake, stop rolling your eyes!