During recent months, we’ve heard a great deal about mandates. We have demanded much of our political leaders and taken a close look at their every word and deed. If we could scrutinize their thoughts, we just might do that, as well. Yet, during all that time, how much thought have we given to our own mandates?
What is, indeed, required of us? What is required of us as children of God? As inhabitants of this remarkable planet? In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. God also gave us dominion over this creation. We’ve long since learned that we humans have horrendously distorted the concept of “dominion” and taken it from caretaking to a role of domination, subjugation, and devastation. We take what we want from God’s creation without thought to the future; without thought to the true meaning of God’s earliest command.
As we consider our mandates, we must always remember this first command given to us by our Creator. If we truly acted as caretakers, would we need other commands?
But, we are human. We may have the desire to care, to love, to tend, to nurture, built within us. But we also come with other desires, other tendencies. God surely recognizes these disparities within our nature. God knows both our strengths and our weaknesses; our weaknesses being our inability to always work for the good, always choose the right path, always watch out for “the other.” And so, other commands were given.
What is required of us? Again, the answer is clear. We are required to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. What would happen if we were to base every decision, every word on these simple requirements? How would the world around us be impacted?
And still, there is more. Still, we cannot quite get it right. People of old could still not quite get it right. And so, someone asked Jesus, “What is the greatest commandment?”
As far as challenges go, those that come from Jesus are not easy to follow, but they’re fairly easy to understand. When Jesus boiled down the greatest commandments to those two, love of God and neighbor, he couldn’t have made the directive more clear. And yet, we still question our purpose on this planet.
A new year has begun. What is your purpose? What are your goals? If you seek a mandate for your life, there is no better mandate to be found than that which is given by our Creator. It is a mandate to love, to care, to be responsible, and, perhaps, to make a difference in the world around you.
How will you do so?