Reflections on Death, Success and the Greatest Commandment

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Over the past seven years, I've attended funerals for both of my parents, my mother-in-law, my baby nephew, my great-aunt, my husband's aunt and uncle, and a neighbor. That's a lot of funerals, and as I sat through each of them, I spent a lot of time thinking about the concepts of success and numbers. 

Because in this world, we tend to measure our success with numbers: number of pounds we weigh, number of dollars in our bank account, number of square feet in our house, number of friends and followers on social media, and number of likes on our latest social media post. We also measure success by the make and model of our cars, the labels on our clothing, job titles and accomplishments, our children's accomplishments, and so on. 

But I think that when we meet God someday, he won't ask us how many pounds we weighed or how many dollars we earned or how many accomplishments were listed on our resumes. And I'm pretty sure he won't ask how many likes we received on that super witty social media post either! Instead, I think he might ask whether or not we obeyed his greatest commandment:

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength... you shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31)

More specifically, I think God might ask us questions about how we did in our relationships... questions like these:

  • Did you take time to really get to know the people I placed in your life?
  • Have you told your loved ones how much you love them, and how much they mean to you? 
  • Have you loved the prickly people in your life, the difficult ones who are hard to love? 
  • Have you encouraged the downcast, and offered acceptance to the outcasts?
  • Have you considered yourself better than others, because of personal attributes (beauty, intelligence, etc.) that are gifts from God, which you had nothing to do with?

And for those of us who call ourselves Christians, I think he might also ask: 
  • Did you show others love in my name?
  • Or did you just throw meaningless words their way? 

The intent of this posting is not to create guilt. Instead, my hope is that readers might think through and identify one or two key relationships that need some work, then reach out and do that work. It might not go well...  but then again, perhaps it will! 
Photo credit:
 © Can Stock Photo / adamr

What is the most difficult relationship in your life? Are you settling for the status quo in that relationship, or do you want something more? 


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