I think we live in a society that doesn’t want to get involved, doesn’t want to be counted on, doesn’t want to be committed – unless it’s fun and you can “come and go” as you like, and you can remain un-attached, remain unanimous and if it doesn’t cost you much. It has to revolve around the individual –it’s all about me and what I want.
This philosophy manifests itself in relationships, families, and churches, organizations in lack of participation, faithfulness, attendance, and giving. In each of these examples commitment and taking responsibility are lacking.
There are few who will empty their pockets to give their all, to be totally committed to something or someone. But Jesus, when questions by the scribes, said that is what we would need to do when we love God and live for Him.
Jesus draws a line in the sand that we must respond to individually.
When asked which is the most important commandment, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:4, which is known as the Shema, the monotheistic statement of Jewish prayer services.
28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.30 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.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31 ESV
He then moves into an area that requires individual commitment to God which will cause you to be all in; to empty your pockets and invest everything you have into loving Him. Why do I say this?
He said, “And YOU shall love the Lord your God with ALL your HEART (sincerity of thoughts and feelings), and with ALL your SOUL (sincerity with warm affection added) and with ALL your mind (intelligence) and with ALL of your STRENGTH (your energy, intensity).
Jesus wants you to love God with ALL that you have; every thought, every feeling, every interest, everything in your life He wants. But what does it require? Your surrender! You yielding to what God wants for you and loving Him enough to trust in Him with your life.
And if you think you have achieved that high task, He gives another little thing to do- Love your neighbor – an outward expression of the inward love that you have for God. And how are you to love your neighbor? Not in a marginal sense, but you are to love them as you love yourself!
These two commandments are very humbling, because we cannot do them in our own strength and abilities. We have to call upon God’s grace and mercy to even get us going in the right direction.
Do you think if we were outwardly focused on loving God and our neighbors, we would be less self -centered? And if less self-centered we would look to helping others? And by helping others, God would bless us in ways only He can? And because He blessed us, we are able to love Him in a deeper way and then be able to show more love to our neighbor? And if our neighbor sees our love comes from God, then he too, wants God’s blessings and ….. so many things could open up for us when we just do what God wants us to do.