Happy New Year!
Are there any Downton Abbey fans out there? If so, you already know that Sunday night was the first episode of the final season of this engaging British period drama. We will finally find out if Carson and Mrs. Hughes make it down the aisle and what will happen to poor Edith and of course Mary?
As I settled in to watch the show after a very busy Sunday - full of wonderful God moments - it dawned on me that the residents of Downton Abbey have little room for God. Though they are regular church goers and faithfully say grace over each meal — making it the "Lord’s table" —God is seldom mentioned a part from that.
When it comes to the challenges or decisions they face in their complicated lives, the residents of Downton Abbey are very much on their own. Seemingly without God, they go about trying to navigate the challenging waters of the post-Edwardian era.
Yes, I know this is just a show, but I wonder, how different that is from us?
According to Time magazine, the most popular New Year's Resolutions for 2016 are:
• "Enjoy life to the fullest"
• "Live a healthier lifestyle"
• "Lose weight"
• "Save more, spend less"
• "Spend more time with family and friends"
• "Pay down debt."
All of those are great but how many of these resolutions focus on us? How many on others? How many on God?
Do you remember in Matthew 22 when an expert in the law asked Jesus which is the greatest commandment in the law?
The legalist of his day recognized 613 commands, that’s a lot of do’s and don’ts. Do you remember what Jesus said?
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and great command. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Vs 37-40)
Jesus' first command is that we put God first in our decisions, attitudes, and thoughts. All the time, every day, and in every way.
Jesus’ second command calls us to extend to others the same forgiveness, understanding, and compassion we extend to ourselves. And to serve them whenever and wherever we can.
Essentially Jesus said that if we do those two things, love God and love others, everything else will take care of itself.
Imagine if in 2016 our New Year’s resolution was simply to put God and others first. How would that impact your relationship with your Heavenly Father?
How would that impact your relationship with the people you rub shoulders with everyday?
Now imagine a world that decided to put God and others first. Just imagine.
It begins with you!