The First Button

Contributed by Micheal Woods, executive director of Western Carolina Rescue Ministries (Asheville, N.C.). Reprinted with permission from The Beacon newsletter.

When I was a little boy, I would always choose a pullover shirt before a button-up. A button-up messed me up. I would get all buttoned and then look in the mirror, only to discover I had an extra button on the top and an extra hole on the bottom. With my misaligned buttons, the shirt hung crooked and I had to start over.

One day my aunt saw my frustration and said, “Micheal, instead of starting in the middle, start buttoning your shirt at the top or bottom. If you get the first button right, the others will be right too.”

When I think about our lives, I think we can learn a lot from my aunt’s advice. We try to adjust our lives midway through and we can’t get things straight. We wonder why we struggle with people, with God, and with circumstances. We struggle because we have overlooked the “first button” of love.

Jesus summarized the Christian life by saying that as forgiven and reborn people, we should love God and others: Jesus replied: “‘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’” (Matthew 22:37-38).

Love is the first button—when we get love in its right place, so much of life finds its place too.