The Most Important Rule
By Dell Smith Klein
Rules! Rules! Rules! Everywhere we go there are rules. We line up at school. We wash our hands before we eat. We say, “Excuse me,” if we walk in front of someone. We raise our hands in school so the teacher will call on us. Rules! How do we know which ones are the most important rules of all? (Give the children time to respond.)
When Jesus lived here on earth, some religious people came to Jesus to ask about rules. One asked this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?” (Verse 36)
See, in the Holy Bible there is a list of ten rules called the Ten Commandments. Also, the people had added some other rules that were not given by God. The man who asked Jesus the question was jealous of Jesus. He wasn’t interested in knowing the most important commandment. He wanted to trick Jesus with the question.
Here was Jesus’ answer. He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Verse 37) And then, Jesus gave another important rule. He said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Verse 39).
Why do you think Jesus said that loving God was the most important rule? (Listen to the children’s responses.) Do you think he wanted us to think about how important the Lord our God is to us? (Allow the children to respond.) Yes, I think so, too. The Lord our God created us. He provided a wonderful world for us to live in. He placed us into a family. When we think of all God does for us, it is easy to love him with all our heart, soul and mind. Jesus said that all of the other rules depend on these two.
Let’s say them together:
“Love the Lord your God…. (and)
Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Why do you think Jesus gave us the second rule––the rule about loving our neighbors? (Wait for children’s response.) We don’t do mean things to ourselves, do we? When we love others, we won’t do mean things to our neighbors. We will help them.
What word stands out in both rules? (Allow the children to respond.) That’s right––LOVE. We are to love God with our entire self––our heart, soul and mind. And also, we are to love others. When we love God and other people, we will be kind and generous. Then, we won’t mind all those rules we live by, like lining up at school, or washing our hands, and saying, “Excuse me.”
LORD God, we thank you for these very important rules about loving you with all our heart, soul and mind and loving others. Amen.
Scripture quotations from the World English Bible
Copyright 2013, Richard Niell Donovan