Focus on What Matters
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31 New International Version)
We live in a world where it’s easy to get caught up in the idols of the day. What’s on social media? What’s the new trend? What are our neighbors and friends doing that we’re not? Before we know it, we’re caught up battling between what’s in front of us and what matters most.
In the week leading up to His death, Jesus took the time to confirm the greatest commandment. He said if you love your God with all of your heart and soul and love your neighbor as yourself, you should be good. Right!?
When I initially read this, I thought, “Yeah, of course! Easy! I’ll show God that I love Him by developing the superwoman syndrome.” I would go out of my way for anything and everything, even if it required sacrificing my time and energy, and stretching myself thin for everything except myself. In my mind, I thought exhausting and sacrificing myself was showing God how much I loved Him and others. However, I could not have been further from the truth. I was spending my time and energy on the wrong things.
In this passage, Jesus not only confirms that we should love our God with our heart and soul; He also confirms that we should love our neighbor as we love ourselves. What took me a very long time to realize was that in order to love my neighbor, I needed to also love myself. And in order to love myself, I needed to learn and accept that I was created by God for good works.
Those talents that I often ignored because I was too busy being busy are actually God’s gifts and blessings. I needed to learn more about myself in order to love myself and share that love with my neighbor. I needed to dedicate more of my time to God in order to learn about him and get to learn more about myself and the reason for my creation.
Are you feeling sidetracked or overwhelmed by the chaos of the world? Refocus and remember, Love your God and yourself, as a child of God, in order to love your neighbor well.
Are you lacking a support group to remind you of God’s love? Keep these two commandments in your toolbox and always ask yourself, “Am I doing this for the right reasons?”
When God says He wants us to love Him above all, He simply means love Him joyfully and trust His guidance, not what other people are doing. Remember the poor widow who gave the two very small copper coins she had as an offering in Mark 12:42? Jesus said, “she put more into the treasury than all the others.” I love this passage, because here Jesus is confirming that God doesn’t want or need our human riches, our to do lists or our overachieving certificates. God is our Creator, the King of all Kings, and what He wants from us is to love Him joyfully.
God, thank you for your love and mercy. We thank you for all the guidance you have provided us through your Word to help us navigate through this path of life. I pray that we continue to surrender our daily idols and distractions. I pray that we continue to want to understand your word more and be mindful that life is much more than what’s around us and it doesn’t have to be as complicated as we think, because you are the God of love and provision who has already prepared everything for our good. In Jesus name, Amen