The Main Thing

The Cross

Steven Covey famously wrote that "The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing." It's become famous because he was right. And as simple as that sounds, it's easy to get caught up with things that are not the "main thing". Jesus was once asked what he thought was the main thing. His answer was that the main thing is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind and all your soul. He went on to say that the second main thing is to love your neighbor as you love yourself.

Ken Gire quoted R. A. Torry in his book, Seeing What is Sacred. What Torry said was, "If loving God with all our heart and soul and might is the greatest commandment, then it follows that not loving him that way is the greatest sin." 

Imagine for a moment, as Ken Gire goes on to suggest, that this main thing became the mission statement of your church, of your Christian school or your mission board. How might it change what is emphasized or how decisions are made.

Much of what passes for love these days is actually something very different from love. A look at 1 Corinthians 13 reveals that true love is other-centered . . . "it does not seek it's own" Paul writes. In fact, what most often passes for love is really far more focused on self-satisfaction than on serving the needs 

of others. As I read Ken Gire's book, Seeing What is Sacred, God convicted me about the ministry He has given me at Jlodge. I have become side tracked, a little distracted from fulfilling the main thing. I love delving into the art of crafting fine coffee and I want Jlodge to mature into a top level coffee shop able to compete with the best of shops in the Tokyo area. That is a high and difficult-to-achieve goal. But what God reminded me of is that my calling . . . His highest priority for me is that I love Him with all my heart and soul and might and that I love my neighbors (Jlodge customers) as I love myself. I still want to craft the finest coffee that I possibly can. But my reason, my motivation has shifted back to where it started from. I want to provide the finest coffee that I possibly can to our customers because I love them and want them to enjoy a special coffee experience at Jlodge. Well -- that's what my goal is -- to provide the best I can because of a love for those who come into Jlodge.

As He teaches me more of what it is to truly love others as I love myself and as, by His grace, I grow in my love for Him I hope He will use me in His plan to reach the lost here in Japan. I know that some have come to Japan "for the 1%". That is, to encourage and strengthen the Church here in Japan. That is an important ministry because it's hard to "be the 1%" in a land that so highly values harmony and "sameness". To be different--to be that 1% who are followers of Jesus is hard and I hope more will come in support of the 1%. But I'm not here in Japan for that reason. I'm here for the 99% who have never heard about Jesus. My love and support for the church is deep but my calling and my deepest yearning is for the 99. 

As I walk the streets in my neighborhood, as I carry our garbage to the garbage collection point, as I shop and participate in community life may my heart be enraptured with love for my Savior and love for these people. As I do my best to craft fine coffee at Jlodge may my heart be bursting with love for my Lord and for those who come to drink. May they find the Living Water of Christ that leads to eternal life.

As I take stock of my day there are only two questions that need answers: 

"Have I loved you well today Lord? and Have I loved my neighbors well today?"