(Mark 12:28-34 ESV)
"Which commandment is the most important of all?"
Jesus answered him.
"‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
He went on saying
‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe response was
“You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Jesus, seeing that he answered wisely, told him:
“You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
No one questioned him further after that, they didn't dare to.
I was talking with my lad about this passage, and mentioned to him how I have loved God for a long time and heard lots of sermons. I find it interesting how the scribes response felt so new to me. Its like all the sermons I've ever heard on this passage have always focused ONLY on the words of Christ.
They have not focused on the understanding that the scribe showed. How our HEART response is more important that our physical response. The Scribe knew full well that love and understanding was more important than the sacrifices we bring before the Lord.
It's not an easy thing you know.
To focus on loving God with your whole heart, your whole soul and your whole mind. It's so easy to just give God a part of ourselves and not our whole selves. Don't you find it a challenge?
And then to add this part of the commandment. Love your neighbour as you love yourself. Whoa.. like seriously. How does one do that? To love your neighbour as yourself? I know, it's easy to show consideration for each other. It's easy to be kind and generous with others.... but what about the difficult neighbours? The people hard to get along with or who stay shut up away from others and such like? How does one love them like you love yourself? What about the dirty messy folks...physically and emotionally? How does one show love for them?
It's not an easy thing.
I see my failures in this all the time. When I just want to hole up away by myself, to ignore others in my need for quietness of mind and my own habits and lifestyle. It is SO HARD to break out of that.
But that is what God calls me to.
It is what God calls us ALL to. Hard or not. That's the challenge, the call, the discipline that God asks of us.
As believers who owe are all to God... is it not worth us trying? Is it not worth me trying harder?