Watching a special with Matthew McConaughey on VH1, I noticed that ol’ Matt signs his autograph with the words “J.K. Living.” It’s a phrase from his Dazed and Confused movie, which stands for “Just Keep Living,” McConaughey has since kept that motto as his own personal philosophy, and it has become a standard by which he lives his life.
So that got me to thinking, Maybe, I need a motto. What would be a phrase that people would associate with me? As a Christian, I could use a purpose statement that is catchy and poignant.
And it’s not just me …
The funky Sprite doll in TV advertisements has "Obey your thirst."
The king of rock ’n’ roll, Elvis Presley, had "T.C.B." (Taking Care of Business).
Nissan magically displays its philosophy with just one word, “Shift.”
Or McDonald’s new catchphrase is “We’re loving it!”
So what’s my phrase? What could I "sum up" my way of life with?
The popular Purpose-Driven Church/Life series made famous by Pastor Rick Warren communicates that a revealed purpose statement will take away the mystery of your ministry and help you make sense of programs, utilize lay leaders and provide direction for your church. And if it can work for churches, it should work for people.
For instance, with McConaughey the “Just Keep Living” philosophy seems to be one of enjoyment and relaxation. His credo is similar to the popular “Go with the flow” heard in the ’70s by peace-loving hippies. But maybe that’s what more of us need: a named “life doctrine” that we can evaluate against our decisions and style. So many of my choices are made quickly, and so much of my life is elected on a whim.
We don’t always “Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18). Instead, my life comes at me like a video game, and I jump and dodge obstacles and choose paths and doors that I hope lead me to a place of safety. Maybe what I need is a short motto that encapsulated my theology or my outlook.
Perhaps looking for their own mission statement, some religious leaders of the time asked Jesus, "Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?" Jesus replied, "’You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:36-39).
Jesus lived out his ministry with a simple philosophy as well. “Love God, love others.” It wasn’t new … in fact, this was old school and, best of all, it worked.
And it still works.
When you love God and love others and make this your most important commandment as Christ suggests, you place what is truly important in the world where it belongs.
What about this big problem that I am facing? Love God, love others.
What should I do with my life? Love God, love others.
What about HOT topics like abortion and homosexuality? Love God, love others.
It seems way too simple, doesn’t it? My favorite Bible weighs in at 2,425 pounds. I could spend a lifetime in that text and only live to understand a fraction of the truth within its bindings.
Sure, we could bust out dusty books and discuss the intricacies of eschatology and theology until Jesus comes again, and Charles Spurgeon, Charles Stanley and Charles Colson could lock themselves in a Bible think-tank to try to come up with a better summary of God’s commands. But when Jesus Himself sums it up so simply without any hesitation, how can we be so arrogant to think that there is so much more?
“Love God, love others.”
My wife calls this, “Relationships Squared” or, even more simply: “R².” Maybe it isn’t rocket science, just simple algebra. Love goes out … love comes back.