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Two great commandments are inseparable

The Lord has prepared an outward measurement of inward discipleship that marks one's faithfulness, said President Howard W. Hunter at the October 1986 general conference.

Then-acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve, President Hunter said that the measurement is illustrated in the parable of the Good Samaritan. (See Luke 10:25-37.)

President Hunter spoke of Jesus' response to a lawyer's question of what he should do to inherit eternal life. President Hunter said, "Jesus, the master teacher, replied to the man, who obviously was well-versed in the law, with a counterquestion, 'What is written in the law? how readest thou?'

"The man replied with resolute summary the two great commandments: 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.'

"With approval Christ responded, 'This do, and thou shalt live.' (Luke 10:25-28.)

"Eternal life, God's life, the life we are seeking, is rooted in two commandments," President Hunter said. "The scriptures say that 'in these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.' (Matt. 22:40.) Love God and love your neighbor. The two work together; they are inseparable. In the highest sense they may be considered as synonymous. And they are commandments that each of us can live."

President Hunter added, "[The Lord] will measure our devotion to Him by how we love and serve our fellowmen."

When the lawyer asked, "And who is my neighbor," (Luke 10:29) Jesus gave the parable of the Good Samaritan. The parable tells of a traveler who fell among thieves and was left for dead, stripped and wounded. A priest saw him but passed by on the other side, as did a Levite. But a certain Samaritan had compassion on the man, bound up his wounds and took him to an inn. The next day, as the Samaritan departed, he gave the innkeeper money for the man's care and keeping, and promised to repay any further expenses. (See Luke 10:30-35.)

Jesus asked the lawyer, "Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?" (Luke 10:36.)

The answer to that question, President Hunter said, is the measure of discipleship. "Both the priest and the Levite in Christ's parable should have remembered the requirements of the law: 'Thou shalt not see thy brother's ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again.' (Deut. 22:4.) And if an ox, how much more should one be willing to help a brother in need. But as Elder James E. Talmage wrote, 'Excuses [not to do so] are easy to find; they spring up as readily and plentifully as weeds by the wayside.' " (Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. 1916, p. 431.)

President Hunter said, "An old axiom states that a man 'all wrapped up in himself makes a small bundle.' Love has a certain way of making a small bundle large. The key is to love our neighbor, including the neighbor that is difficult to love. We need to remember that though we make our friends, God has made our neighbors — everywhere. Love should have no boundary; we should have no narrow loyalties."

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