Love God. Love Southern. Serve the world.
We use it all the time in the Baptist Student Union, but where does it come from? What does it mean? What do we do about it?
Where does it come from? It comes from a scene in the Bible found in Matthew 22. Jesus Christ is having a verbal sparring match with some religious leaders when one of them asks the question, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” Without any hesitation Jesus replies, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.” Boom! Love God, love your neighbor. Jesus talked a lot about those two things, expanding on what it meant to love someone and how that looked in real life. Later, in Matthew 28, Jesus commanded His followers to, “make disciples of all nations.” It’s just one of hundreds of references in the Bible to God’s passion for people all over the world. If we love Him, it only seems natural that we would care about the things He cares about, and it’s obvious that He cares about you, me, and everyone else regardless of who they are, what they’ve done or how they’ve lived their life.
What does it mean? Love God. Pretty simple, at least on the surface. The picture we see of love in the Bible is sacrificial. It is giving of yourself, in spite of yourself, for the sake of someone else. It’s putting their desires in front of your own, their wishes first, their needs preceding yours. Loving God in that sense is a commitment to understand who He is, what He desires of you and putting that knowledge into action. It’s not always easy. In fact it is often accompanied by a personal cost. Love isn’t cheap, but it is always worth it. Love God.
Love Southern. Going back to what Jesus said about loving your neighbor as yourself, we look at Missouri Southern as our closest point of application. The staff, students and faculty as MoSo are the people we live our lives around. They are the people we see the most in our daily routine as we work and play. If we’re not doing all we can to love the Lions who surround us daily, what chance do we really have of serving the world beyond campus? Love Southern.
Serve the world. Jesus didn’t teach that His followers should keep to themselves and ignore the needs of others. He taught that His followers should care for everyone the same way that He did. He didn’t put a lot of qualifications on the help He offered to the sick and the lame, He just healed them. His example and teaching were such that His concern for the entire world was evident to all. He made it clear that we aren’t supposed to limit ourselves to helping just the people who think or believe like we do, but that we have an obligation to share with whole planet the hope and strength and joy we have as Christians. Serve the world.
What do we do about it? A lot. As a ministry, the Baptist Student Union helps students in all kinds of ways. We worship together (love God) on Tuesday nights. We eat together (love Southern) on Wednesdays at lunch. We go on trips every year to all kinds of places (serve the world) where we can help people with a variety of needs—physical and spiritual—through the resources we have. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We have Bible studies and socials, we go to retreats and conferences, we have fun learning how to live more like the God we love as we love one another and our neighbors the way He first loved us.