January 30, 2021

The Greatest Commandment

Mark 12:28-31

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

—  Mark 12:30

The teacher of the law who asked about the most important commandment was trying to test Jesus. He might even have been trying to trip Jesus up.

But in this classic teaching, Jesus identifies the power and primacy of loving the Lord our God as the most important thing we can ever do. Ironically, love cannot be commanded, but loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength gets at the whole purpose of all the commandments. This is a holy invitation to have our entire lives directed toward loving God.

Our hearts beat in rhythm with honoring God. Our hearts are aligned with the commandments, but not for the simple sake of keeping them. The purpose is to honor God.

Our souls, our eternal spirits, place God first in our lives. We can serve ourselves, but how much better it is to dedicate our lives to God!

Our minds think in ways to give the world the shape of things to come. Minds are creative and powerful, and in training them to glorify God in all we do, we can shape the world to act with more of the justice and goodness of God’s kingdom. Our strength directs all our resources for God’s purposes. Our money, skills, relationships, influence, abilities, and so on are strongest when applied for the love and honor of God.

Jesus, help me to grow in understanding and practicing how to love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Amen.

About the author — Douglas MacLeod

Rev. Douglas MacLeod is a church pastor in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has served as a pastor for over 36 years with five congregations in Michigan and Iowa. He and Cathy, his wife of 40+ years, are grateful for their three children and four grandchildren.

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