Columns | Published 2015/05/27

Indispensable Love

By Trent Martin

Jesus once said, “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” In other words, the things you value the most will have the strongest influence on your heart. If you love fast cars, you’ll pour your heart into them. If you love your job, you’ll invest all your energy into doing it well. And if you love people, you’ll put anything on the line for them.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a Seventh-day Adventist, like me. You likely grew up being taught that the most important thing you can do in life is to know the truth, as we find it in the Bible, and to share it with people. There’s a good reason for this. When you look into our history as a movement, we have, in many areas, been very innovative and open-minded when it comes to interpreting the scriptures. Our understanding of the Sabbath is pretty solid. Our awareness of what happens when we die is clear, and our understanding of prophecy continues to grow. We have a rich history in truth-seeking, and I hope that as a Church we continue our rich tradition of opening the Word for new light in our lives.

Now, I have a ridiculous question for you. Ridiculous, because it’s unrealistic. But hang with me... If you could ONLY choose to (A) love God and people (but have no clue about the teachings of the Bible), or (B) to have no capacity for love (but have a complete understanding of the truths of the Bible), what would you choose? There have been times in my journey when I would have chosen option B; where I was so keen to know the truth that I would happily push people aside who wouldn’t accept it. Truth was my treasure, and that was it. But something has changed. I’m digesting the words of Jesus, where He said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.”. If we were to ask Jesus which of the above options He would choose in our hypothetical, it seems like He’d go with A. 

The truth is that Jesus’ life was one of perfect balance. He knew that loving people is absolutely indispensable, and this love compelled Him to share His life-changing teachings with warmth, understanding, and patience. What He treasured most was not mere knowledge, but loving His people, and this came through in everything He did.

Jesus teaches me that love and the truth aren't independent entities. Truth isn't true without love. Nor can love exist in a bed of falsity. This is what I see when I look at Jesus: truth and love, expressed in a person.