This morning I listened to the story in Exodus 3 of Moses encountering the burning bush.
As I listened to it, the thought came to me that life as a Christian would be so much easier if God would appear to me and tell me what to do. Instead, I have Scripture as a guide and I need to infer what God wants rather than hearing specifics about my situation directly from God.
Shortly after beginning down that thought path, it dawned on me that Jesus has told me what to do. He boiled it down to two great commands:
“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.””Matthew 22:37–40, ESV
There are only two things I have to do. But I must acknowledge that I don’t do either one of them consistently. If I ever made it through a day feeling that I did pretty well at these commands, then I would consider that a great day. Alas, that day has never come. I find myself falling short and sighing at the end of every day as I consider the many ways I failed in these commands.
But I find comfort in what John wrote in his first letter:
“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”1 John 2:1, ESV
I am reliant upon grace alone to get up the next day and begin again to attempt to fulfil the two great commands.
At the burning bush, Moses was given a huge task, he was called to shepherd the people of Israel out of their slavery in Egypt.
With those two commands, Jesus has given you and me a huge task to practice unconditional love.
When Moses remonstrated with God and declared his inability to fulfill the task he was given, God said to him, “but I will be with you” (Exodus 3:12). The presence of God would allow Moses to overcome all the difficulties and fulfil his task. And Moses did indeed fulfil the task he was given.
Jesus told us “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20, ESV). So while the task to love God and love others is also very daunting, with Jesus by our side, and with the grace and forgiveness that we are given when we fall short, we can press on in our mission.