When one of the teachers asked Jesus which commandment was the most important, he responded,
Here O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these. Mark 12:29-32
The teacher affirms Jesus and adds that those commandments are more important that all the burnt offerings and sacrifices. Jesus in turn, pays the teacher one of the highest compliments recorded in the Bible,
You are not far from the kingdom of God. Mark 12:34.
Truthfully, on my own, I don’t even know where to begin. How do I even know what that kind love, that kind of living looks like? One day, they are going to draw a sheet over my head and life as I know it will be over. I want to know what this means today.
All the “burnt offerings and sacrifices” I can come up with are useless; the good favor of other people, a calendar packed tightly with activities and attempts at being “good enough” fail me. The joy I’ve longed for is found in accepting God’s extravagant love for me. I simply embrace the fact that I am his “Beloved,” and the wonder of knowing and loving God begins. Is it then that the kingdom of God is near, if not present?
When I grab hold of the beauty and sacrifice of Jesus’s love for me, there’s a seismic shift in my world. Mysteriously, when I accept God’s love, I begin learning what it means to love Him and then others and myself. That doesn’t mean that I become emotionally bullet proof and incapable of wounding others or doing stupid things. It does mean that I become anchored in God’s unfailing love; I don’t have to live in fear of being hurt by others or making mistakes. Because I was first loved by God, I can live and love freely.
I have no idea why I sometimes wander from this love. I do know that God is always faithful to call me back to him. His arms are open wide and He never turns away.
Lord, help me to live in your love as I go about the ordinary events of this day. Let me love you by receiving all that you have done for me with a full and grateful heart. Holy Spirit, teach me today what it means to walk as Jesus did. May your kingdom come and your will be done. Amen