Friday, August 12, 2011

The Great Commandment

I was preaching this last Sunday on "The Great Commandment" from Luke's Gospel. Jesus is approached by an expert in the law who asks about the greatest commandment. Funny how religious people can be preoccupied with what the most important rule might be.

By way of an answer we hear words that would have been very familiar to the religious community of the day. Put simply: Love God wholeheartedly and love others in the way you want to be loved. this precipitates a further question about neighbours and the parable about a good Samaritan.

What intrigues me about this discussion between our expert in the law and Jesus, the fulfilment of that very same law, is that he never asks Jesus about how to love God. He has no question about how to love God wholeheartedly.

He has no questions about what to do with the philosophical questions that he faces or the temptations he conjures up in his imagination and what that has to do with loving God with all your mind. He seems unconcerned about how you keep loving God even when you reach the end of your physical, emotional and spiritual capacity to do os. When you’ve used up all your strength.

None of this worried him. He’s just bothered about who his neighbour might be.

Is that you? Is it me?

Are you so concerned to make sure that you limit the measure of your grace towards others so that it is manageable but still honouring of God that you’ve forgotten that the primary commandment is to abandon yourself into God’s hands?

Surely there is a missing the question that this expert ought to be asking: How do I love God that fully?

Paul gives a clue about how he saw it working out in the lives of Christ-followers:

#1 Root your faith

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Col. 2:6-7)

#2 Focus your heart in the right place

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Col. 3:1-2)

#3 Serve God in everything

Whatever you do, do it wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord (Col. 3:23)

What are your missing questions? Are you more concerned with making your faith manageable? More concerned about fitting Jesus into your life than building your life around him?

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