I heard a great story about a very young associate pastor who went around the church full of
enthusiasm and “wisdom.” He seemed to have a knack for reciting the commands of Christ and
then finding people who aren’t measuring up to them and rebuking. The senior pastor noticed this
and gave his youthful subordinate a research assignment: Go through the gospels and list every
command Jesus gave. Not teachings, not parables, but imperative tense commands only and
have your report on my desk by 5 pm Friday. The young man thought this would be a piece of
cake and set about making his list. After a day or two, he became discouraged; this wasn’t a
piece of cake after all.
Jesus taught many things and gave us many principles to follow, but He gave very few imperative
tense commands. The young associate pastor never quite completed the assignment, but he did
learn his lesson, to the relief of those around him!
The commands that Jesus actually gave can summed up this way: Love God, love your neighbor
as yourself, love your brothers and sisters, forgive your bothers and your sisters and make
Of course, “make disciples” encompasses all of His commands and teachings in one
act of love and mercy.