In case you didn’t know, I had the awesome joy and privilege of working in a cabinet shop. Not only did I have the best job in the world, I worked for a man with great integrity and impeccable skills with wood. A true master craftsman.
Needless to say, I sure wish I could have learned some of his skill at crafting. It takes years and patience. I don’t have a lot of either. Oh, well. I did learn a thing or two.
One thing about cabinet doors, if you want them to work properly, they need to be hinged. Hinges can be concealed, which means they’re on the inside of the door or they can be exposed. Now, you can purchase these nifty little gadgets, which clip onto the concealed hinges, to make your cabinet doors close softly, hence the term soft-close doors. That’s just a side note and has nothing to do with this blog.
Back to the hinge. A hinge not only makes the door work properly it also sets the door placement. If a hinge is out of alignment, the door will not close properly or you may notice the doors are not aligning. Just a slight adjustment can make all the difference. So, in order for a door to open and close properly a hinge system must be correctly installed. Not only does the hinge system need to be correctly installed but the entire movement of the door depends on the hinge. In other words, the door hinges on the hinge.
In Matthew 20 Jesus is being questioned by the Sadducees and when he finally silenced them the Pharisees got involved. An expert in the Mosaic Law posed this question to Jesus, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? And Jesus replied 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 first and greatest commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself [that is, unselfishly seek he best and higher good for others] The whole Law and the [writings of the] prophets depend on (hinge on) these two commandments.’ Matthew 20:35-40 (italics mine)
Why is this so important? Why does it matter? First of all, the Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus. Not only does Jesus give the right answer, he goes a step beyond and gives the best answer. The truth is, if we love God with all of our being, heart, soul and mind. It’s easy to love others, even those who aren’t like us.
For most of us, me included, it’s a real heart issue. God knew it would be and that’s why he told the Israelites, to first and foremost love him. He also understood that everything, both good and evil, flow out of the heart. Jeremiah 17:9 ESV, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick, who can understand it? ” Therefore, if we will give him our hearts, we give him our all. Lock. Stock. Barrel.
If you’re like me, the “thou shalt nots” will hang you up every time. I spent far too many years trying to focus on the “thou shalt nots”. I’m one of those that have to prove things for myself. I’m not a fan of denying myself pleasure or pain and let’s just say, I’ve learned many lessons the hard way. I should have a Doctorate in the School of Hard Knocks. The soul is where the will resides. For me, the battle goes on and on. It’s the innermost part that deep emotion and expression are felt. If He has our soul, our deepest needs are met and our emotions can be kept in check.
One step beyond that is the mind. For me that’s where the real problem is. The mind plays tricks on you. Battles are won and lost in the mind. Temptation most often begins with a thought. Giving in is the action to the thought. How do we control our thoughts? We don’t. We have to take, “every thought captive to Him.” He will give us the ability to control our thoughts, which will in turn will help control our mind.
I find it interesting that while, Amy, my daughter was at the Wailing Wall in Israel, she said God spoke very clearly to her that day and told her, “These are my people, all of them, regardless of race or religion and I want you to love them because you love me.”
She announced after her return that she wanted a tattoo. She told her dad, “I already know where I want it and what I want it to say.” Then she proceeded to tell him the story of her experience at the Wailing Wall and she’s going to have the words, “Love My People” written in Hebrew. She wasn’t 18 and Terry wasn’t willing to sign for her to get one. Instead he told her to wait for a year and pray about it and make sure that she wanted to do it.
Sure enough the year was almost up and she announced that she still felt to need to get the tattoo and she did. (Picture above)
The interesting thing is that every time I see her tattoo, I am reminded that God tells me to love Him and love others.
Photo Cedit to WCU athletic photography