One Is Better Than Ten

“Jesus replied, “ ‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22:37–40

Today is the birthday of one of the most solid human beings I know and I am not just talking about his physique either. My dear friend Larry Vasquez is solid to the core of his being. I have learned so many things about life and about God from him through the years and this morning as I was praying for him on his birthday the Lord brought to mind a quality about Larry’s life that I hope and pray encourages and inspires you in your own journey of faith like it does mine. In a nutshell Larry has learned well that to navigate through this world of chaos we need to have Jesus at the center of our lives and not just first. Let me explain.

When God gave Moses 10 Commandments I am pretty sure God didn’t actually number the Commandments one through ten for the simple fact Jesus said you can fulfill all the law and the prophets by doing just one thing, by keeping God at the center or the hub of your life. A better way to look at the commands of God then might be to see Jesus Christ as the center rather than the first. When we do that we understand that every command of God is important just like a spoke in a wheel. Every spoke plays a critical role in keeping the wheel true and when Christ is at the center of our heart all the commands of God remain visible to us where often times when you put things in numerical order once you move on from one to two you loose site of the previous command. Just ask someone to recite the 10 Commandments and most can’t.

Jesus at the center (hub) of our lives keeps all the spokes (commands) in view as every spoke serves a purpose in maintaining the wheels (or in our case, lives) integrity and balance and avoiding what is known in the cycling industry as “catastrophic failure” where the spokes come loose from the center hub and the wheel literally collapses causing great bodily injury or even death. As an engineer by education and trade Larry knows from first hand experience that systems become more complex over time. Keeping Jesus at the center of our lives prevents us from creating our own systems of failure like the Jews did in the Old Testament taking the 10 Commandments of God and turning them into the 613 Laws of Moses and then into the 22 volumes of Rabbinical interpretations in the Talmud of the Jews. Their failure was catastrophic.

One of the many things I appreciate about Larry and celebrate on his birthday today is how he is able to accomplish so much in life by striving to keep things so simple. After all these years he just keeps building upon the Rock! Jesus words in Mark 12:28-31 come to mind when as I think of my friend on his birthday, “One of the teachers of religious law asked Jesus, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

Love God, love people. Keep Jesus at the center of your life and you will have something to celebrate today even if it’s not your birthday! Keep Jesus between you and everything else and like my friend Larry you too will live and enjoy a life well lived.

“There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother”

Proverbs 18:24


Michael Osthimer




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