Summary: Love is the guiding principle for followers of Jesus. Although we might try to complicate the issues, what God requires from us is not complicated - Love God and Love your Neighbor.
A. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and that each of us will strive to be thankful people all the time, not just on Thanksgiving Day.
B. As you know, our lives are fraught with many questions, and many answers.
1. Some of the questions and answers are silly and frivolous, others are profound and essential.
C. Here are some questions and answers on the silly side:
1. Someone asked, “Why are there so many Smiths in the phone book?” The friend answered: “Because they all have phones.”
2. Question: What do you call a boomerang that doesn’t work? Answer: A stick.
3. Question: What do you call four bull fighters in quicksand? Answer: Quatro sinko.
4. Question: What kind of coffee was served on the Titanic? Answer: Sanka.
5. Question: What lies at the bottom of the ocean and twitches? Answer: A nervous wreck.
D. As we go through life, we come to realize that both the questions and the answers are important.
1. I heard about a former student who visited his old school, 20 years after his graduation, and met an old Science professor of his.
2. The professor happened to be grading exam papers, and the student was surprised to notice that the questions were exactly the same as they were two decades ago.
3. He asked the professor about the possibility of the leakage of the exam paper such that the students would know the questions in advance.
4. The professor smiled wryly and answered, “Don’t worry about that, although the questions are the same, I change the answers every year.”
E. The good news I have for us today is that although the questions may change from year to year, and generation to generation, the answer remains the same.
1. The answer to so many of the questions that we have in our Christian lives is LOVE.
2. Love is the answer, but sometimes we make things far too complex.
F. There is a story told of a tourist who stopped at an old service station out in the country.
1. Sitting in the sun outside the story was an old man holding a piece of rope.
2. The tourist asked, “Excuse me, sir, what’s the rope for?”
3. The old man replied, “It’s a weather gauge.”
4. Puzzled the tourist asked, “How can a simple piece of rope tell the weather?”
5. “Simple, sonny,” said the old man, “When it swings back and forth, it means the wind is blowing, and when it’s wet it means it’s raining.”
G. See, some things really are simpler than we sometimes make them.
1. During the time of Jesus, the teachers of the Law of Moses had identified a total of 613 commandments in the Old Testament covenant.
2. They concluded that 248 of them were positive commands to be obeying, and 365 of them were prohibitions to be avoiding.
3. One of the favorite pastimes of the Jewish religious leaders was debating among themselves about the commands trying to discern which were the most important ones, or even the most important one.
H. In Mark 12:28 and following, we find a teacher of the Law trying to pull Jesus into this controversy by asking him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
1. “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”