“An expert in the law asked Jesus this question: “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” —Matthew 22:36-40
This past week, 31 middle school students and adults from Tarrytown United Methodist Church made the journey to San Antonio to partner with Blueprint Ministries. Together we worshiped, learned, and served with Blueprint staff and volunteers from other churches in the area as well as our host families of the homes we were there to improve.
Blueprint Ministries is a well-established organization in San Antonio that has partnered with the city to provide labor and services to homeowners, who—without Blueprint’s help—would be evicted from their homes due to unsafe living conditions. The staff connects with the homeowners and assesses what needs to be done at each house to accommodate a safe living environment. Blueprint figures out the best way to deploy volunteers, like us, and equip them with the tools and skills necessary for the job. Along with physical repairs to the homes, Blueprint also builds relationships with the homeowners and helps connect them to local churches or provide transportation for those who already have a church home.
As someone who has now served with Blueprint twice, I can say that their mission is clear, and they do an amazing job of equipping students with the right tools, skills, and attitude to properly serve this community. While this involves learning how to be safe and some basic skills instruction, the opportunity to come together for powerful worship every evening is just as important and sets the tone for the heart of everything we do during throughout the week.
Christ taught that the greatest commandment is to love God, and the second is to love others. If we do these two things, everything else will fall into place. There aren’t many people, much less middle school students, who would go out of their way to do manual labor for someone else in the middle of summer, but if we equip them to love God and love others it is amazing what they can do.
My encouragement to our youth and adults who served with us this past week is the same encouragement that I would offer you. Love God and love others. You will be amazed at how quickly everything else falls into place. Many of us are familiar with this passage, but I would encourage you not to be so familiar that you miss the simplicity of our call as Christians.