Who do you care about?
It's not easy to care. Caring takes effort. Caring isn't convenient. Caring take resources, money, and time.
Jesus was asked a pivotal question, "what is the most important thing to God?" Jesus made faith simple: "love God and love your neighbor as yourself... every commandment boils down to these things."
Though Jesus' answer was simple, it certainly isn't easy. Love is choosing to care. Caring digs in and gets to know the other person. Caring understands the struggles, and the celebrations. Caring is measurable, in our thoughts, emotions, time, and money. Caring is the highest bar.
So how do you care for God? How do you care for others? What does your love look like? Does it invade your thoughts, emotions, time and money? Does it transform your ideas into action?
In the version of this story in the Gospel of Luke, the person asking the question had a follow up, "who is our neighbor?" In other words he asked, "ok, so who do I have to care about? Who do I have to love?"
Jesus answered by telling the famous story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) In the story, a man was attacked and badly hurt. Every religious leader passed the injured man by, avoiding the mess, but a member of a race despised and even avoided by Jewish people of that era, a Samaritan, took the injured man and paid for him to be nursed back to health.
The illustration is clear. We only love when we get involved. We must care. It feels like the messiness might be too hard... like it might be too much for us. We aren't alone when we feel that way. But we are wrong. The truth is the opposite, that we were made for love - even in the mess.
Modern society has shown over and again that when we don't care, when we isolate and ignore, when we avoid caring for God and others as a way of life, the cost to our soul is so high, so damaging, that we literally waste away in our selfishness, meaninglessness and even sickness. Our souls starve and die and then the bodies follow. We see it happen over and over.
Caring is the ONLY antidote. Caring is our ENTIRE purpose. Caring for God and others is our FULL life's meaning. Caring is how we get to the big life.
So who do you care for? How can you care for God and others more deeply?