The most important obligation

February 27, 2008 | 3 comments

So, what is the most important task for you to accomplish today? Get to work and back home again? Call your customers? Put on a smiley face? Complain? Study? Pass the time quietly? …

A lawyer once asked Jesus what the most important demand was for him to rise to. Jesus told him to love God with his whole heart and to love his neighbor as himself.

As I pondered this command, it struck me how many other obligations we embrace that are unproductive, and even harmful to our progress.

For instance, have you ever felt obligated to worry? What about feeling pressured to correct someone? Or becoming inordinately preoccupied with the body or with illness? Have you felt fear was necessary? The list of errors, when indulged, that waste time, thought and energy can become quite lengthy.

As I ponder my number one obligation to God, which is to love my neighbor as myself, the load is much lighter. I love the inspiration that I am not required to fuss, fret or fume about anything. I’m only asked to live a life of love, peace and harmony, expressing God’s unselfish and unconditional love toward one and all.

If I do worry or fear, then I’m not trusting God. I’m acting like a god unto myself, and no wonder the feeling is unpleasant, I’ve realized. It’s not a spiritually right activity to be engaged with! It necessarily brings suffering along with it.

So, a quick route out of suffering is often to rise to the simple straightforward demand of “Have one God and love your neighbor as yourself.”

If we spent all of our time loving others there would be no time or mental space left for unloving attitudes and beliefs to absorb our attention. And angst or inner turmoil that cause pain and suffering would be gone.


Love your neighbor as yourself! It’s all you have to do today.

Now that’s an obligation I can happily embrace and run with!

3 thoughts on “The most important obligation”

  1. I saw something today that so supports the point you were making I wanted to share.

    I have an after school honor choir made up of about 100 kids from six different elementary schools. For the last year I have been diligent in working to establish a sense love for each other as the glue that holds us together.
    There have been many small signs of that happening–less picking on each other and intimidating each other but nothing prepared me for what I saw today….

    We have a recess time at a local church after lunch. It is always a crazy time with kids often being wild and out of control and breaking up into cliquish groups and pestering and annoying each other as well as leaving out many.

    Instead of that happening, today I watched as a small group, on their own, started playing a circle game. They kept drawing kids into their circle until every child was in (that wanted to be) and they let everyone have turns. It didn’t matter if they were new, old, short, tall, stout, thin, gorgeous or yet to bloom…..or what school they represented. Everyone got to play and I have never seen anything like it — the joy and love for each other in that room was palpable.

    I was in awe as I realized how the results of the persistent recognition of love reflected in love was unfolding in front of me like a beautiful flower. It was far more important than the music–it was a song all it’s own.

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