Every human being who has ever lived has had the same number of hours in each day. From the most famous president or king to the least-known person of all time, each has had the same amount of time given for each day. Our Lord Himself, as He entered time and walked upon the earth, had twenty-four hours in each day. Do you know how our Lord spent His time? Jesus said that He always did those things that pleased the Father (John 8:29). What are the things that please the Father? What are the things that He considers “great” things? How should we spend each day that we have been given upon this earth?
When asked which was the greatest commandment in the law, Jesus answered: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and prophets (Matthew 22:37-40).
Do you want to live for the greatest things? The greatest things in this life will never be the grandiose, showy things admired by men. The greatest things that one could ever hope to attain to are loving God and loving others with the love of God. This love will require all of your heart, all of your life, and all of your time.
The Bible speaks of important and great things, yet none is greater than love. And now abideth faith, hope, charity (love), these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).
How great is faith? Certainly, it is a great thing. The Scriptures teach that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6), and that by grace are ye saved, through faith (Ephesians 2:8). Most surely, faith is a great thing, but the greatest of these is love.
What a wonderful thing hope is! Hope is that confident, sure expectation that God will do what He has said – and that confident assurance that He will come again. Truly peace and rest come from hope, but the greatest of these is love.
Why is love the greatest of all things? Perhaps it is because it brings much glory to our Lord, for it reflects Him as He is. But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace are ye saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-6).
Look closely: it was because of His great love for us, even knowing how sinful that we were, that He died for us. You see, He did what was for our true good, no matter the cost. And indeed, the cost was great – it cost Him His only Son. In this act, we see such demonstration of His love (Romans 5:8, 1 John 4:9-11).
Did you know that on the very evening that Jesus was going to be taken and eventually be crucified, He called His disciples together to emphasize some things to them? Listen to the words of Jesus: A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another (John 13:34). This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:12-13). These things I command you, that ye love one another (John 15:17). And the final words of the final prayer of Jesus to the Father: And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou has loved Me may be in them, and I in them (John 17:26). Yes, the greatest of these is love!
Listen as the Apostle Paul teaches why love is the greatest of all things: … For he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, “Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet”; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law (Romans 13:8-10). The Apostle Paul speaks this same truth as he writes to the Galatians: For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself (Galatians 5:14). Yes, the greatest of these is love!
Do you want to live for the great things? The greatest thing you can do for anyone is to love him or her as God has loved you. No matter the depth of their sin, no matter the cost to you, no matter the response, you do what is for their truest good. That is how God has loved you!
What is the greatest thing that you can do for your husband? Love him, as God has loved you! What is the greatest thing that you can do for your children? Love them, as God has loved you! What is the greatest thing that you can do for whoever comes to your mind? Love them, as God has loved you! The Apostle John, who was taught by Jesus Himself in those final hours, declares: He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love (1 John 4:8). And speaking of the sacrificial love of the Father in sending His only Son to bear our sins for forgiveness, John says: Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another (1 John 4:11).
Yes, the greatest of these is love! Die to yourself, and live for the great things. You only have twenty-four hours in each day. And living for the great things is the most fulfilling life that you can find!
On that fateful night before Jesus was bound and taken away, He said to His disciples: These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full (John 15:11).
Lord, renew our minds. Remind us that we need not spend our lives consumed with ourselves. You are a perfect Heavenly Father, and You care perfectly for Your children. You will care for our needs. Help us seek the great things – the truly great things. And thank You, Lord, for the great love wherewith You loved us.