Minister's Corner: A call to love God and neighbor

By Pastor Gérard Nsabimana

This past week, I read a story about a 10-year-old Mikayla Jaissle making an impact on students in Zimbabwe, Africa. The article began like this: “Seeing a 10-year-old American girl giving an orphaned toddler a piggyback ride at the United Methodist Fairfield Children’s Home moved many to tears.”

Fairfield Children’s Home is located at the Old Mutare Mission in Zimbabwe. Fairfield Children’s Home provides a nurturing environment for dozens of Zimbabweans orphans.

Like Mikayla, I have visited Fairfield Children’s Home. As a parent myself, I know how much it means for my children to know that they are loved. It is a daily struggle for me when I think about children in Oklahoma who do not have a safe and loving home environment. Every child is desperately in need of love. I would add that each person, regardless their age, desires to love and to be loved, and yet so many of us are love starved. The good news is that Christ calls all of us to love God and neighbor as a way of making our world and our lives better.

In the Bible, we read a story about a scribe who came to Jesus to ask him a question. “Which commandment is the first of all?” This scribe asked his question in good faith. He wanted to learn from Jesus. So, Jesus answered in good faith. He said:

“The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’

The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31).

The scribe had asked for one commandment, but Jesus gave him two. Love God! Love your neighbor! It couldn't get much simpler than that!

Except that it isn't really that easy. Not in real life. Not in Mutare, Zimbabwe. Not in Shawnee, Oklahoma. May God help us so that we may love God AND our neighbor. If we do, we will be like Mikayla and move many into tears of joy while witnessing what it means to love God and our neighbor.