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How to love with all your heart

December 14, 2022
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Daily Scripture

Mark 12:28-33

28 One of the legal experts heard their dispute and saw how well Jesus answered them. He came over and asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”
29 Jesus replied, “The most important one is Israel, listen! Our God is the one Lord, 30 and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your mind, and with all your strength [Deuteronomy 6:4-5]. 31 The second is this, You will love your neighbor as yourself [Leviticus 19:18]. No other commandment is greater than these.”
32 The legal expert said to him, “Well said, Teacher. You have truthfully said that God is one and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love God with all of the heart, a full understanding, and all of one’s strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself is much more important than all kinds of entirely burned offerings and sacrifices.”

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Buddy the Elf was not like emotionally guarded New Yorkers. “I’m in love! I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it,” he told puzzled business executives after Jovie kissed him. * Jesus was talking about something much deeper than a naive crush as he quoted Deuteronomy 6:4-5 about loving God “with all your heart.” But Buddy can remind us of a dimension that may go missing in our spiritual walk. In Revelation 2:4 God sadly told the church in Ephesus that “you have let go of the love you had at first.”

  • Jesus said we must love God “with all your heart, with all your being, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Which of those ways most easily and naturally falls into place for you in your walk with God? Which do you find most challenging? What do you find helpful in keeping all those dimensions in balance as you love God?
  • Scholar N. T. Wright said, “Jesus really did believe that through his kingdom-mission Israel’s God would enable people to worship and love him, and love one another, in a new way…from renewed hearts…. this comes as a considerable challenge to all contemporary Christians. Would anyone looking at us–our churches, our lives, our societies…–ever have guessed that the man we claim to follow saw his followers as being people like this?” ** How can you clearly show others the kind of life Jesus described?
Prayer

Lord Jesus, I need regular, ongoing renewal. Keep challenging, teaching, and shaping me into a person who loves you with all my heart, being, mind and strength, and doesn’t care who knows it. Amen.

GPS Insights

 Jennifer Creagar

Jennifer Creagar

Jennifer Creagar is the Community Assistance Coordination Director in Resurrection's Congregational Care Ministry. She is married and loves spending time with her family, and she enjoys writing and photography.

One of my favorite hymns (not a Christmas Hymn, but maybe it should be) is “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” (United Methodist Hymnal ©1989 #400). The lyric that always grabs me is “O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be! Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee. Prone to Wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love; here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.”

Prone to wander…especially during this holy time approaching Christmas. The distractions are everywhere, and I’m very easily distracted. There are dozens of shiny things jumping up all around, family plans being made and changed every few hours (at least it seems like that), lists and more lists, and even in my work here at Resurrection, caring for others who are experiencing financial emergencies at this very expensive time of year, who are homeless in the cold. Even loving and helping our neighbors can make my heart wander, thinking I have can take care of this all by myself and forgetting to come to God with every request.

In the midst of this busy time, am I really declaring and acting on my love of God, with my whole heart, with all my mind, all my love, all my being and my strength? Am I declaring, like Buddy, that “I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it?” Or am I wandering, forgetting that that our love of God, who loved us enough to come to us as a human, should be the whole point of everything I do every day, especially in these days approaching the celebration of his human birth?

If your heart is wandering a bit right now, join me in prayer,

God, who I do love, here’s my heart, please take and seal it. Help me cease my wandering and focus on you in these very busy days. Help me experience and share the joy of your love and miraculous entering into our lives. Amen

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* From https://kidadl.com/quotes/best-buddy-the-elf-quotes-from-the-movie-elf.

** Wright, N. T., Mark for Everyone (New Testament for Everyone) (pp. 171-172). SPCK. Kindle Edition.