Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.”
I stood before about 30 Kindergarteners and remembered the many brown faces I had left behind in Central Asia. “My friends in my school around the world are just like you! They have mommies and daddies, like to play games, and are working hard to be good readers and writers!”
Asked to speak about being a missionary to this American group of learners, I had to break it down to a Kindergarten level. What were the basics of being a missionary in Central Asia?
“Do you know what the most important thing a missionary does is? The MOST important thing a missionary does is to love God! Where can you love God?”
After a few tries, all the children were shouting, “We can love God anywhere!”
“That’s right! Do you know what the second most important thing a missionary does?” (A few more tries).
“Love your neighbor!”
“Yes! We are to love people! Our neighbors! Where can we do that?”
We practiced greetings, tried on some local clothes, looked at pictures, fingered some handicrafts, and talked about some cultural practices in Central Asia. I explained to the children that I had a job as teacher and principal to smart learners just like them, and that God asked me to go around the world to love those kids.
“Then, God asked me to come back around the world to love some new kids—you! And in both places, my most important jobs are the same. Do you remember what our important jobs are?”
Number one: “Love God!”
Number two: “Love people!”
“Where can you do that?”
“Wherever God asks you to do that!”
“That’s right. That’s what missionaries do. YOU GOT IT!”
And the 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 (NKJV)