“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34 NIV
It’s been called “America’s moonshot.”
It was John F. Kennedy’s declaration that by the end of the decade, America would put a man on the moon. And for the decade of the 1960s, that was the one-sentence mission of everyone in aerospace, to the moon and back by the end of the decade.
When racial divides and civil unrest became overwhelming in the 60s … the goal for aerospace was clear.
When social unrest and global conflicts grew … the target was still known.
Even when the man who cast this vision died … the mission still remained.
Since then, that “moonshot” has become the gold standard of clear goal setting.
Or simplified, X by Y.
Think of how freeing and helpful this is.
If you have a boss who assigns you a project to complete but doesn’t tell you when it is due or what the end result needs to be, it can be very difficult for you to know the desired outcome.
If you had a teacher who said, “At the end of the semester, a paper will be worth ½ your grade,” but never told you when it was due, what it was on, or what the requirements were, it would be difficult to know how to succeed.
This is why sports are so engaging for people. There is a clear mission. You play to win the game.
There’s an expression in leadership circles: Clarity is kindness. And this is what the moonshot did. This is what good leaders, bosses and coaches always provide. And this is what Jesus gives to us.
In the epic Last Supper, Jesus clarifies the mission.
While the Pharisees have 600+ laws to keep the original 10 … Jesus sums it all up in one sentence.
While Rome never clarified, only punished … Jesus clarifies and rewards.
While the pantheon of pagan gods were silent on what they were looking for or what they would bless … Jesus puts it in a bullet point.
You will show others you are my disciples by how you love.
John found this particularly interesting. After all, Jesus had already simplified it a great deal when he said:
“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37, 39-40 NIV
All of the laws and the words of the prophets can be summed up in these two thoughts, Love God and Love people. That seemed pretty clear.
Yet, Jesus knew that most of us would lean on one of these and forget the other. Some of us love God really well. We go to church, pray, give, and read our Bible. And then we avoid our neighbors, cuss out drivers who cut us off in traffic and complain about servers in restaurants. On Sundays. After, we just went to church.
So Jesus knows clarity is kindness, so he gets even clearer.
You show you love God by how you love people.
Or in other words, you show how you love a dad by how you love his kids.
If you said you loved me, appreciated my ministry, liked my books, and listened to all of my messages but were rude to my kids, we’d have a problem.
John notices the lengths Jesus is going to to make following him even more clear. Clarity is kindness.
For John, clarity is love.
Love God … by loving people.
Jesus, thank you for making following you not only clear but doable.
so simple, yet so difficult.