From the Board

The 1-2-3 Challenge

Joseph C. Oatis Jr

In 1970 the Temptations had a hit single called “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World is today)”. Now, almost 50 years later, has anything changed? Is there much difference in the world today? If you’re not familiar with this tune, just google “youtube ball of confusion by the Temptations” and listen intently.

“[People movin’ out, people movin’ in. Why, because of the color of their skin….. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Vote for me and I’ll set you free … The only person talkin’ ’bout love thy brother is the preacher. And it seems nobody’s interested in learning but the teacher. Segregation, determination, demonstration, integration, aggravation, humiliation, obligation to our nation. Ball Of Confusion—–that’s what the world is today.

The sale of pills (drugs) is at an all-time high, young (millennials) folks walkin’ ’round with their heads in the sky…. Eve of destruction, tax deduction, city inspectors, bill collectors; evolution, revolution, gun control, the sound of soul, shootin’ rockets to the moon, kids growin’ up too soon. Politicians say more taxes will solve everything……Fear in the air, tension everywhere…. Round and round and round we go, where the world’s headed nobody knows…Ball of Confusion—-that’s what the world is today.]”

What does it take to change the world? And how can we as individuals help stop this ball of confusion? Allow me to cut to the chase. There is a way. Jesus offers a 1-2-3 challenge that if followed, will in fact change the world. So let me refer to this simply as 1-2-3. In Mt. 22:37-40 He said: “…love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

He summarizes all the laws and commands in Scripture with a 1-2 punch, with 3 being a natural default.

  1. Love God [vertical]: Get to know Him, and that knowledge begins with His Word. Put Him first; develop a hunger for His righteousness; and obey Him.
  2. Love your Neighbor [horizontal]: Jesus is quoting from Leviticus 19, and in the context of this passage, loving your neighbor included sharing with the poor; showing compassion; demonstrating honesty and justice in relationships; and other acts of kindness. Ultimately, we owe it to our neighbors to share with them the good news of the gospel. Jesus said “A new command I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you,…”(Jn. 13:34). For the first and only time in history, Jesus created a family [His Church] whose identifying factor is love. Skin color didn’t matter, native language didn’t matter, no rules about diet or uniforms or wearing funny hats mattered. The identifier was simply -Love.
  3. Love Yourself [default]: I know —Jesus says nothing about loving yourself. However, it is our natural bent to love ourselves (which is often the case), so I included it as number three. The command to “love your neighbor as yourself” simply tells us to treat other people as well as we treat ourselves. The vertical love for God is to be manifested through our horizontal love for our neighbor. Let me remind you that we can only love because He first loved us [1 Jn. 4:19] and that love should be evidenced in us when we communicate the gospel and love others as He has loved us. As a member of Kuyper’s Board of Directors, I challenge teachers, staff, students, and parents to put God first and love Him with all your heart and with all your mind, and with all your soul. And when you do, that love will reflect on how you treat and care for others and then you will experience something new as God changes this world.
Joseph C. Oatis Jr Joseph C. Oatis Jr
Photo by Jeremy Yap

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