The Great Commandment Principle
Restoring Great Commandment Love
© 1998 by Tyndale House Publishers, Incorporated. All rights reserved. Database © 2008 Wordsearch Corp.
For years as a minister of the Gospel, I bought into the myth of trying to balance family and ministry. One day a friend who had been astutely observing my life said, "David, you are very busy, but you are also very barren. Wouldn't it be tragic if your dearest disciples were not your wife and your three children.?"
Up to that point in my life I had diligently focused on doing ministry, but I had lost sight of being a channel of God's Great Commandment love. I thought of myself as a skilled and knowledgeable spiritual problem solver, but I did not know how to deal with people's relational needs. Your and my priorities are reordered as our doing flows out of our being a Great Commandment husband, wife, or single adult, father or mother, pastor or Church board member.
Our desire is threefold:
In Great Commandment Love,
David L. Ferguson
The world is full of hurting, needy people. Many in our culture feel alienated, disconnected, and alone. And we suggest the outward manifestations of crime, drugs, rebellion, abuse, addiction, and family breakup plaguing our culture spring from alienation at two levels. First, people are alienated from God and His Word. Second, people are alienated from one another, feeling empty, unloved and alone.
And do we as Christians— the Body of Christ— have an answer for pain-filled people in a crisis-filled world? Absolutely! The bright gleaming in the darkness of a hurting generation is the person of Jesus Christ and His message of love and forgiveness. Christ is the answer. We believe it wholeheartedly. We proclaim it with conviction and passion.
But does the hurting world find our message relevant to their lives? On one hand, many unbelievers seem to be very God conscious:
But, ironically, another study shows that an astounding,
In other words, what they see in us is largely not applicable or pertinent to their lives. They find us irrelevant!
You may be surprised to learn that recent evidence suggests we are failing the test of relevance inside the church, as well as outside. A staggering:
Ministry leaders and their families are not immune to the painful alienation plaguing our culture, nor is the message of hope we proclaim always perceived as relevant to those who seem most deeply committed to it.
An alarming number of ministers are hurting and finding little relief among those they serve:
Something isn't working. When the message of Christ's love and forgiveness is not being applied to resolve the personal and relational pain of so many of those who proclaim it, we have a crisis of irrelevance in the ministry.
Where have we missed it? We are the Body of Christ, ordained by God to proclaim the Good News. So why do we seem to have so little impact on a hurting world, not to mention our spiritual and relational health and that of our leaders?