“But Ruth said, ‘Entreat me not to leave you or to return from following you; for where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God; where you die I will die, and there will I be buried’” (Ruth 1:16-17).
The love of God is the summary of all the commandments. It is also the greatest of them all. What does it mean to love God? It means to value God so much in your heart that you would rather die than offend him.
At the heart of Christian worship is love. Another word for love is worship. To love is to worship. In other words, if we were to really love God, we would truly worship Him by keeping every of His commandments even if we don’t feel like keeping them. To love God is to sacrifice one’s own will for the sake of doing the will of God.
Take away love, and all that we do in Church becomes a waste of time and energy, a show or drama so to say! This was why Jesus had to ask Peter this question three times, “Do you love me?” “Peter, do you love me more than these?” “Peter, do you really love me more than these?” How can we claim to be serving God if we love other things more than God?
The first and greatest commandment is also intricately connected to the second commandment which is: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” Of course, as St. John says: “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20).
The Story of Ruth and Naomi in the Bible is a story of Love. How I wish our daughters will increase the love they have for their mothers-in-law and stop seeing them as enemies competing for their sons’ attention. Ruth refused to leave Naomi, her mother-in-law because she was wise enough to know that Naomi, being an aged woman cannot survive on her own without help. Here comes another lesson in love; the care for the old.
I often wonder why our old people are not treated with much care and love as they deserve. I wonder why here in Africa, the moment a person is old, he or she is suddenly labelled a witch even by their own children.
When I consider the love and attention parents give their children at a point in their lives when these children are fragile, helpless and unable to fend for themselves, and I consider how some children “reciprocate” this love and attention, I become moved with tears.
Love is empty if it doesn’t require anything from you. True love requires sacrificing for others especially for the old. Just as loving God demands our wholehearted worship, loving our neighbours also demands sacrifice on our part.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, help me to love you better each day, Amen.