Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” 27 He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”
Both here and in Luke 18:18 to the young ruler, the question is asked of Jesus, “What can I do to inherit eternal life?” While the answers vary from the lips of Jesus, there is an emphasis on action.
Obviously, in the New Testament, the question of eternity was central in the thoughts of people and the writers. Matthew 25:31-46 are the pivotal scriptures for that, and John 3:17 says how we should believe on Christ for eternal life in Him.
So, I thought, eternal life is still the most important question those of faith are asking today. Even though life everlasting didn’t enter the scene in Judeo-Christian history until the 7th century B.C. with the book of Daniel, this question is usually preached at funerals and discussed at hospital settings.
Thus, I researched this question: What is the most asked religious question in the past few years.
In 2019, the answer might surprise you. It did me. I expected “what will happen to my soul” would be the highest asked religious question. But it wasn’t. In fact, “what is heaven like” comes in 11th and “what is eternal life” ranks 32nd. The No. 1 question asked is, “What is Love?’ Over 3,500,000 want to know. “What is the Bible” and “Who is Jesus” ranks 2nd and 3rd.
After catching my breath for a moment, I realize this is true. “You shall love the Lord Your God” appears in the Gospels: in Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30 and Luke 10:27. The word “Love” appears 65 positive times in the Gospels. Almost all scripture related to this deals with the treatment of one to another.
Contrast that with what is happening in our society today. Quest for power, money, and fame is not to love one another but to love oneself; the throw away children born without parental support or upbringing denies loving what we have conceived; the Political Ads are not based on love but on everything else.
A $100,000 office costs over $5 million. As an aside, I am working with a group from Morningstar Baptist and other faith groups to create an event somewhat listed now as a “Love over Hate.” There are three types of love in the Bible: Eros, Philia and Agape. The agape is what we are asked to follow: The self-giving, emptying love into the world for Jesus’ sake that we love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves.
As the United Way has a day of caring, maybe we could designate a day as “Day of Loving.” It might be worth a try. And, even if we don’t designate an event like this, try it anyway and then live it. Eternity might be the gain.