The Order of Love

The first and greatest commandment is to love God. The second is to love people. Great danger arises from confusing this order.

When we love men more than God, we lose even the true meaning of love. Its foundation is swept away. We reduce it to a mere feeling, with all the attendant malleability of emotions. In our misguided love without obedience to God and His Word, we are in truth without love.

We are collectively really bad with money

The money quote (ha! get it?) from this Businessweek article on a recent Federal Reserve report on the financial state of U.S. households:

This is contrary to how God wants us to live. Consider just these Bible verses:

What Can Clutter Tell You?

The clutter is a sign, a symptom. I’m avoiding the work, some of it because it’s hard and I’m not sure how to do it, some because it’s boring and doesn’t interest me, and some because I keep forgetting to get it done on a regular basis, mainly because it’s mixed up with everything else.

Randy Murray

Find tools to help you organize. Reduce your stuff. Be diligent about cleaning up. Every day.

Hitting Wins Championships: Why the Chicago Cubs’ Inverted Rebuilding Strategy Is Starting to Look Brilliant

[The Cubs are] building an offense from within and a pitching staff from spare parts. This flies in the face of more than a century of conventional baseball wisdom, which states that (1) pitching wins championships, and (2) a team can never have too much pitching. The Cubs’ approach is completely counterintuitive. It’s also completely right.

—Rany Jazayerli

This isn’t the year. And maybe not next year. But soon.

And This I Pray …

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11)

Eighteen years ago, as my friend and I parted our separate ways to college, the reference to these verses are what he wrote inside the front cover of a devotional he gave me. I never considered them before; I have recalled them to mind often since. They have encouraged me and I have used them to try to encourage others. There is so much power in God’s Word. There is so much power in giving it away.

Time is precious, and we are concerned to be good husbands of it, because eternity depends upon it, and it is hastening apace into eternity, but abundance of it is wasted in unprofitable converse. To tell or hear the new occurrences of providence concerning the public in our own or other nations, and concerning our neighbours and friends, is of good use now and then; but to set up for newsmongers, and to spend our time in nothing else, is to lose that which is very precious for the gain of that which is worth little.

Matthew Henry, commenting on Acts 17:21, contrasting the activity of the Athenians with the instruction in 1 Tim. 4:13-15 to give attendance to reading and meditation, from Commentary on the Whole Bible

Love People, Not Pleasure

This search for fame, the lust for material things and the objectification of others—that is, the cycle of grasping and craving—follows a formula that is elegant, simple and deadly:

Love things, use people.

This was Abd al-Rahman’s formula as he sleepwalked through life. It is the worldly snake oil peddled by the culture makers from Hollywood to Madison Avenue. But you know in your heart that it is morally disordered and a likely road to misery. You want to be free of the sticky cravings of unhappiness and find a formula for happiness instead. How? Simply invert the deadly formula and render it virtuous:

Love people, use things.

Easier said than done, I realize. It requires the courage to repudiate pride and the strength to love others—family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, God and even strangers and enemies. Only deny love to things that actually are objects. The practice that achieves this is charity. Few things are as liberating as giving away to others that which we hold dear.

Arthur Brooks on happiness and unhappiness.

LeBron James announces return to Cleveland Cavaliers

What if I were a kid who looked up to an athlete, and that athlete made me want to do better in my own life, and then he left? How would I react? I’ve met with [Cleveland Cavaliers owner] Dan [Gilbert], face-to-face, man-to-man. We’ve talked it out. Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?

The value our culture places on sports is horribly misaligned with its actual value (I don’t claim a personal exemption from this judgment). The amount of attention given to where LeBron James would play basketball during the 2014-15 season is an example. His essay announcing and explaining his decision to return to Cleveland after four seasons in Miami, though, is absolutely well done:

  • He recognizes the high value we place on sports and how that impacts life off the court. He knows he is in a unique position to help his hometown area and wants to help.
  • Contrition and forgiveness for what happened in 2010.
  • Family matters.
  • Home matters.
  • No press conference or TV show. “I’m not having a press conference or a party. After this, it’s time to get to work.”

There has never been a U.S. sports star whose departure from his original team went so poorly have a return quite like this.