How to Determine What Matters Most
by Rick Warren
There are three things that will endure – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NLT)
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The most important lesson God wants you to learn on earth is how to love. Here are three simple truths about love:
1. Life without love is really worthless. We often act as if relationships are something to be squeezed into our schedule. We talk about finding time for our children or making time for people in our lives. That gives the impression that relationships are just a part of our lives along with many other tasks. But God says relationships are what life is all about.
Jesus summarized what matters most to God in two statements: love God and love people. He said, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart. . . . This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40 NLT).
The point of life is learning to love God and people. Life minus love equals zero.
2. Love will last forever. Another reason God tells us to make love our top priority is that it is eternal: “These three things continue forever: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13 NCV).
Love leaves a legacy. Mother Teresa said, “It’s not what you do, but how much love you put into it that matters.” Love is the secret of a lasting heritage. In our final moments, we all realize that relationships are what life is all about. Wisdom is learning that truth sooner rather than later.
3. We will be evaluated on our love. One way God measures spiritual maturity is by the quality of your relationships. In heaven God won’t say, “Tell me about your career, your bank account, and your hobbies.” Instead he will review how you treated other people, particularly those in need.
Jesus said the way to love him is to love his family and care for their practical needs: “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40 NRSV).
People need to understand that when you transfer into eternity, you will leave everything else behind. All you’re taking with you is your character. That’s why the Bible says, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Galatians 5:6 NIV).
Knowing this, I encourage you to pray this simple prayer every morning: “God, whether I get anything else done today, I want to make sure that I spend time loving you and loving other people – because that’s what life is all about. I don’t want to waste this day.”
© 2008 Purpose Driven Life. All rights reserved. Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and best-known churches. In addition, Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life and The Purpose Driven Church, which was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th Century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for ministers.
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