Community in Action "Loving God" April 24, 2020

Community in Action

It is in the gospels that I believe Jesus gives us the way to embrace those three P’s I mentioned this week, purpose, presence, and passion. Jesus in Matthew 22 is asked what is the greatest commandment God has given us. Jesus says to love God and your neighbor as your yourself. 

    In Luke we find this scenario recorded a bit differently. Luke records this event as a question from “an expert in the law” who asks, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Or this can be translated “What must I do to have life in its fullness?” Jesus responds in the same way as in Matthew.

    But what if find interesting is that in Mark, considered the first gospel written, when Jesus is asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” His response is what we call the Shema. The Shema is found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD is our God, the Lord is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

    If you read the Mark rendition of verse 5 found in Deuteronomy Jesus includes loving God with all your mind, as does Matthew and Luke. But we need to remember the Hebrew understanding of the body considered the heart to include the thinking as well as the feeling component of a person. It wasn’t till the Greeks that the mind was considered separate from the heart. The heart with the Hebrews was the seat of emotion, thought, and will.

    The heart for the Hebrews was the director of a person’s actions. When you decided on a direction for your life you used all the faculties you found in the heart, this is how you decided on a purpose. And it is your soul which defines your very essence or your presence. And it is your strength which addresses in your passion.

    Jesus is telling us, through the gospels, and through Deuteronomy, that all that we are should be directed toward loving God. This is how we can be the best we can be. If we want to be the person God created us to be we need to first love God with all that we have and then we will find our purpose, we will be able to recognize our unique presence, and we will know how to direct our passion.

    Purpose, presence, and passion defines who we are. And to live that out we must first love God with everyone of those P’s in all we do, say, and experience.

    May you grow in your love for God as you experience your purpose, presence, and passion.


    Pastor Randy

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