June 22, 2009

If You're Close, Is That Good Enough?

Mark 12:28-34

“You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
Mark 12:34


Sometimes being precise isn’t necessary. For example, food prepared by a skilled chef may taste delicious even though the chef did not precisely follow the recipe.

In other cases, though, just being “close” is not good enough. In an orchestra, for example, if an instrument is out of tune, the sound of even the finest symphony can be ruined.

The religious teacher in our reading for today was deeply perceptive in spiritual matters. He asked Jesus, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Jesus answered that we should love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength—and our neighbor as ourself. “That’s right!” the man declared. He added that loving God and neighbor is more important than all the offerings and sacrifices made in worship. Jesus commended the man for his insight and added, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

Jesus’ words here are sobering when we realize that in the case of the kingdom, being close isn’t enough. Correct theological answers are important, but we must also live by the truth of them. We need to be wholly committed to Jesus Christ as our Savior, Lord, and Master. That’s what the kingdom is about.

Are you a member of Christ’s kingdom? Do you love him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength?

Father, draw into your kingdom all who are near to it through the one and only entrance: Jesus Christ. Help us to live completely by your way of love, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

About the author — R. Scott Greenway

R. Scott Greenway was born in Mexico City in 1964, the fourth child of missionary parents. He graduated from Calvin College in 1986, Calvin Theological Seminary in 1991, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 2002. He and his wife, Kelly, have four children. He pastored the Irving Park Christian Reformed Church in Midland Park, New Jersey, and currently serves as pastor of Caledonia Christian Reformed Church in Michigan. He enjoys a variety of outdoor sports, including hunting and fishing.

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