How is your summer going so far? Would you say it is the best summer ever? What would make it that great? Jesus gives us two commands as the basics for the best summer ever.
Back to Basics with Jesus and the Scribe
During an interaction that Jesus had with a scribe, Jesus gets back to the basics of life.
In the gospel of Mark, Jesus provides us with a summary of what it means to live, and more specifically what it means to live for him.
Any season can be the best season if we simply remember the basics of life. If you are searching for the meaning of life, you needn’t look any further than Mark 12:28-31.
A Really Important Question
This story unfolds with a very wise man asking Jesus one very wise question, “Which commandment is the most important of all? (v. 28)”
This man is no dummy, he is a scribe. He has devoted his entire life to preserving the Old Testament. In other words, this guy knows what he is talking about. And this is no small question for him to ask.
He is asking Jesus to sort through all of the commandments found in the Old Testament and find the one which supersedes the rest. Which commandment is supreme? Which one is more important to follow than all the rest?
Basically, the scribe is asking Jesus to pinpoint the most important aspect of life.
Jesus’s Answer: You Have One God
In verses 29-30, Jesus answers with a quote from Deuteronomy 6:4: “The most important is, ‘Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”
He points the scribe back to the Word of God, to a very familiar passage which exclaims that Yahweh is one God. This was a creed that was close to the hearts of devout Jews. It proclaimed God as one God and it was meant to remind God’s people that there is no other God than Yahweh.
Jesus’s point in using this quotation is simple: there must be no equal love in your life than the love which we are to have for God. God is one; love for him must be undivided.
So Love Your God with Everything
Next, Jesus proclaims in verse 30, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
By using these four words—heart, soul, mind, and strength—Jesus is trying to help the scribe understand that everything in his life is meant to be an outpouring of love towards God.
Everything we do ought to bring glory and praise to our Creator. We have to involve our entire being, not only our body, but our mind, heart and soul in the worship and love of God.
According to our Lord, there is not a more important commandment than this: to love your God with all that you are. Everything we do should be an act of love for God.
But Jesus doesn’t stop there.
And Love Your Neighbor
The scribe asked for the greatest single commandment, and Jesus delivered on that question. But rather than leaving the scribe with the greatest commandment, he gives the scribe a second helping of wisdom.
Jesus takes his answer one step further in verse 31 stating; “The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” The Greek word used here for “neighbor” is defined as “the one who is near or close by,” and it can also be translated as “fellow human being.”
At this point, the scribe is probably thinking that he got a little more than he bargained for. He asks one question but gets two answers.
Jesus concludes in verse 31 by saying, “There is no other commandment greater than these.”
So, the greatest commandment which God has for his creation is a two-for-one special. In everything we do, we are called to first love God and second love our neighbor.
For us to truly love our neighbors, we must first love God. And for us to truly love our God, we must also love our neighbor.
Back to Basics this Summer
If this summer is to be the best summer ever, all you must do is remember the basics: love God, and love your neighbor. Where?
- in your work or your retirement
- in your staycations and vacations
- in your baseball, softball, and soccer games
In your every moment you are called to first love God and second love your neighbors. With whom?
- in our church family
- in your church parish
- in your Small Group
- in the community
With all of these people, we are called to first love God and secondly love our neighbors. During what situations?
- in our time with friends
- in our hobbies
- in our resting or exercising
- in our struggles and in our joys
We have been created to carry out two fundamental, basic commands: (1) love God, and (2) love our neighbor.
So, let’s go out and have the best summer ever by remembering the basics that Jesus taught: to love God and love our neighbors.