There is a strong tendency among men to jump into action. An immediate thought of doing, something, anything that will show the way we feel. An action defined by using our strength or resources to accomplish the task that seems to fit the bill. Demonstrating commitment or love to the world at large or a small piece of it.
Jack felt he was really getting through to his family, especially his wife, when he would do something on her behalf. Fixing something, maybe even a meal or a surprise action or gift. It wasn’t enough. That is Jack’s love language. Jack would wonder what he did wrong and why if it felt so good to him, why it didn’t last or feel the same to someone else. There was something missing in Jack. He didn’t listen to her, he listened to himself.
There is a short piece in the Bible (have patience now, this is important) that the most important thing we can do is love our Lord with all our strength, spirit and mind. That’s the first part of two. The second part is a lot like it.
Love your neighbor as yourself. It’s like an instruction manual with only two things to do to find fulfillment, peace and romance. The simple part of any instructions, you have to do them in order. You cannot build a house without first laying a foundation. You cannot lay a foundation without preparing the place. Before that is perhaps the architect’s plan and so forth. There is always a sequence to building and it starts with a vision.
Where does that vision come from? And why does it fit in with your life? Did we do the first thing first?
There is a very old piece of wisdom which Jack has mentioned before. It’s from the Jewish Talmud and it is a conversation between a Rabbi and Elijah the Prophet. The Rabbi complains that the Messiah has deceived him for not showing up that day when He said He would. Elijah laughs and says, “ He didn’t say He was coming, He said to listen” And so, we make the same mistake, over and over again.
We jump right into the second part of Jesus’ explanation of all of scripture, of all the prophets to love our neighbor. But again, we gloss over the first command which is Love Him. All of us. All of who we are.
There is no shortcut to loving by going to work. Jack has experienced this in several ways. He was a part of a ministry in Lino Lakes called, ‘God’s grease Monkeys’ This must be a calling for me! Thought Jack.
Jack was sort of on board with this Loving God but he wasn’t waiting for that still, small voice of his Lord. He thought he was on the right track, seemed logical. Jack grabbed tools and showed up, even recruited a some good friends. The ministry was not where Jack needed to be. He didn’t listen for that quiet voice.
Now, the same thing happens when Jack tries with works of sacrifice to show his wife his love. He doesn’t listen to her as she wants him to listen and not rush into talking or doing. Just listen. That’s how the house is built. Not buying 2 by 4’s when we think that’s all that is needed. Listen and hear well. All of Jack’s heart, soul and mind. Love his Lord first by listening to him. He will show Jack how to listen to others and understand their voice. It’s hard a lot of the time, but it’s pretty good. Jack Gator