Aaron loves lacrosse. Part of his love for lacrosse includes preparing to be the best player he can possibly be. He works out. He watches college games to learn more about the sport. He will join a winter league to improve and will play on the team in the spring. His love will spur him on to action. I love Apple “stuff”. I plan to watch their announcement today at 1:00. I will be making a conscious choice of how to spend my time and my focus. When I am done watching, I will have gained “understanding” in terms of Apple products. Aaron does not go to practice because he “has” to-he goes because he loves lacrosse. I don’t “have” to watch the Apple announcement, I want to. We do these things because of what we love, not the other way around.
Today’s verse in Mark is a challenge regarding a whole hearted love for God. A man is responding to Jesus. Jesus told him that loving God and loving your neighbor are the most important commandments. It takes all our heart, understanding and strength. The man reiterating this, realizes it is a shift in priorities. The love determines our actions. The love comes first, and the actions follow out of love. We do and don’t do certain things because we love God. If we wonder what that really means at this moment today, we need only think about Aaron’s love for lacrosse or my love for all things Apple. We are not “forced” or “dreading” taking part in what we love. Whatever we love, we are more than willing to spend our time, money, energy and focus on. It consumes us. We think about it daily and given the opportunity, engage with it in some form or another. We have apps related to it and shows to watch about it. We can’t help but talk about it!
So, do we love God with all our heart, understanding and strength and do we love our neighbors? Will we watch “shows” about Him? Will God come into our conversation naturally today? Will we open a Bible app or message a friend something new we found out about God today? Will we sense God showing us a way to help a friend or neighbor today and act on that urging? Will we spend time or money today to learn more about our God? If we answer yes to any of these things, it will be evidence of a heart felt love for God. If we do not, than that so-called “love” can rightfully be questioned. Saying we love someone or something is one thing. Seeing time, actions, focus and money invested in someone or something is a much clearer indication of where our love truly lies.