A friend of mine recently had a barn that he owned converted into a house. One of the first jobs that had to be done was to put in proper foundations – upright timbers resting on the earth might have been adequate for an agricultural building, but a house would need something rather more solid!
As with a building so with our lives – the kind of foundations we put in will determine the strength and quality of the life that will rest upon them. And so as Jesus approaches his death he reminds his followers of the two most important foundations that they should have in place in their lives – to love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength; and to love their neighbour as themselves.
Many people like to have the second of these in place and live by the golden rule that we should only do to others what we would want them to do to us. The problem is we’re just not very good at doing it – if we were then the world would be a better place. That’s why loving God has to come first – not only does he set us an example of extravagant and selfless love, but he also promises to give us the power to show the same.