The world tells you that you need to take care of “Number One” every day. They’re right. But if you’re going to do that you’d better know who’s number one.

Welcome to “Mornings with Bishop Robert” — thanks for joining me … I do this for you. My goal is to introduce people to the Jesus they never knew, and help them get to know Him and His word personally – and better ! If our time together today speaks to your heart, then let me invite you to like, subscribe and share it with a friend!

In psychological terms, the word imitation refers to mimicking or copying observed behavior.

Infants learn through this process. Smiling back is a learned response, and the baby needs a good deal of face time to learn to identify smiling faces and connect the smile with positive feelings. Taking time to return a baby’s smile let’s a baby know that they have your attention, and that you’re happy. This give and take is a necessary element of good and wholesome development;where the parents provide the stimulus and the infants learn by imitating what they see.

In some ways our verse today relates to this concept, and in other ways it is almost its opposite.

This simple verse has often been called the Golden Rule. On the surface, it seems quite simple. Yet its simplicity belies a depth and even a difficulty that come to light as we consider its implications.

What Jesus is asking of us is NOT a simple matter of give and take; it’s actually more than that. Much more.

Some have said Jesus took a concept that was at least as old as Confucius, Plato, Socrates and Aristotle and simply used it. They miss a significant point. Philosophers always stated the thought in the negative. Teaching to try not to do things to others that you would not like them to do to you. At first glance, the significance of the difference might not jump out at you.

But Confucius and Plato are simply referring to personal restraint, admonishing you to refrain from hurtful actions. In fact, one can follow that principle and NEVER interact with another human being. NOT doing harm is as easy as living alone. If you never connect with anyone, then you’ll never do harm to anyone. And that is all Socrates and Aristotle on this matter require. It costs you nothing.

But that’s not what Jesus commanded. He said, “IN EVERYTHING, DO TO OTHERS WHAT YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO TO YOU.”

Oh, now THAT is a horse of a very different color. Jesus is requiring you to deliberately go and interact with others in a specific way. He is calling you to live out the life of love He has placed within you.

One day a teacher of the Jewish law challenged Jesus to tell him, of all the commandments, which is the most important? He got more than he bargained for.

Jesus said, “The most important one is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 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: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

First Jesus ties in loving God with loving your neighbor. Loving the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength takes everything we have to give. In fact, it requires that God give us what we do not have so that we can do it at all. But when Jesus tied in loving your neighbor, that opened up an aspect of demonstrated love that was unmaintainable without the power of God.

Loving God REQUIRES that I demonstrate His love to others. There’s no way around it. And I can’t be content simply not to hurt anyone, as Socrates taught. No, Jesus demands so much more. He says DO, and that demands action. Deliberate action. And He begins the command with two words that define the scope — IN EVERYTHING.

Then to drive the point home, Jesus says that we are the salt of the earth.

How can we possibly be the SALT of the earth … IN EVERYTHING? The list is endless, but I’ll use the word SALT as an acronym to consider four of them.

Looks at others and touch their need. There’s a crisis of increasing homelessness everywhere. You can’t solve solve the crisis, but can you show compassion to one homeless person? Take an extra blanket or two from your house and carry it in your car. Wouldn’t you want someone to give you a warm blanket if you needed one? DO TO OTHERS WHAT YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO TO YOU. No means to carry a blanket? Purchase a gift card for a fast food restaurant and provide them a hot meal. Or buy some food that doesn’t require a stove to prepare. There are dozens of creative ways to show love.

And serving isn’t restricted to homeless folks, opportunities to serve are all around you, if you look for them. They will require effort, and perhaps a bit of discomfort. But that was Jesus’ point, wasn’t it. Loving your neighbor, DOING TO OTHERS WHAT YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO TO YOU — that demands sacrifice.

Be deliberate about expressing thanks. Give instructions or orders in a way that demonstrates appreciation for the person who receives them. Compliment actions when possible, it may be the only kind word that person hears that day. DO TO OTHERS. DO!

Spend enough time with God so that His love fills you, and then spills out for others. Filling and spilling. Pour out His love on those He brings into your circle of relationships. Everyone from your spouse and family, to neighbors, to strangers you encounter as you live your life — all of them would benefit from receiving MORE of God’s love expressed through your words and actions. DO TO OTHERS. Love is a verb. Love is a choice.

Give some away. If you have only a little, then give only a little. To use an American illustration, most people reading this could buy a $10 gift card from a McDonalds or Burger King once a month and never struggle with missing the cash. But giving it away once a month would have an incredible impact one someone. If you have more, give more. Jesus said that where your treasure is, that’s where your heart would also be. Find some worthwhile church, charity or cause that will impact people and DO TO OTHERS WHAT YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO TO YOU.

The world talks about GIVE AND TAKE, and tells you that you need to look out for “Number One” every day.

But when Jesus is “Number One” and you are second, then you only need to focus on the GIVE part. Be SALT.

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