Earlier this year Mazda launched some new cars with quite innovative technology.
For the advertisement they used people that accomplished something amazing in an innovative way.
One of those caught my attention: it was a man named Dick Fosbury, who in the 60’s developed a new way to perform the high jump, by going backwards over the bar. In an interview he explains that when he was in High School, the coach was teaching him the traditional way to do it, but he could not succeed no matter how hard he tried. The bar was too high for him.
He then came up with the idea of trying something different, and he developed what ended up known as the Fosbury Flop, and that allowed him to jump higher than anybody else, to the point he won the gold medal in the 1968 Olympics.
As they prepare for competition, athletes keep raising the bar, to achieve new levels.
I was listening on the radio a sermon based on Matthew 22, where Jesus is asked which was the greatest commandment, and He answers:
“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 neighbor as yourself.” (Mat. 22:37-38)
When I heard that, I thought that in His answer Jesus raised the bar, compared to the way the 10 commandments approach it.
In Exodus 20 the concept is to not murder, not steal, not give false testimony, not covet…, which are good directions regarding the ways of relating to people around you, but telling us to love others like ourselves is really a higher expectation.
Also, at this point Jesus is talking to a varied group of listeners, not necessarily His followers.
Later, in John 13, when Jesus is talking specifically to His disciples, He again raises the bar considerably:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
Wait a minute.
Loving others like ourselves was hard enough. Now Jesus wants us to love others like He loved us? He died for us! How can we love others that much? The bar is too high.
Like Fosbury, we will need a new way to achieve that, and this time I don’t think jumping backwards will work.
I believe the only way we can aim that high is if we stop trying.
I mean stop trying on our own. At this point we need help.
If Jesus gave us that command, He can help us with it, as long as we are willing to let Him control us (here comes again that hard think of giving up control).
Wouldn’t it be great if we could just flow Jesus’ love through our lives?