“’Well said, teacher,’ the man replied. ’You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” –Mark 12:32-33
Yesterday I identified, more clearly than before, my own personal tendency to love God more with my future plans than with my current life. I realized that I am more in love with God in my dreams than when I am awake.
I have often found myself occupied with determining the most powerful way I can serve God in the future—how I could plant churches or start programs or give my life for people—but alarmingly unconcerned about the implications of loving God today. It makes me think of the parable of the sower in Mark 4: “but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” Who knew the “other things” could include plans for future service?
So right now, I’m trying to change my perspective. Instead of worrying about how my convictions right now should shape my future life, I’ll be thinking and praying about how my convictions right now should shape my life right now. I’ll still look to the future to prepare for things—I still love to dream—but I’m going to try to love God right now, first.
“And the scribe said to him, ‘You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him.And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.'” -Mark 12:32-33
Loving God and loving the people around you is much more than any offering or sacrifice. Not only is it the greatest commandment–it is the greatest joy.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” -1 Corinthians 13:1-3
2. Love is the underlying value in every spiritual gift and righteous act. Check if you have it, and if you do, let it be your motivation.
With this in mind, my 2016 resolution is to engage as many people with the Good News as needed until one person decides to be baptized.