My fourth verse of 2015 is Mark 12:30-31. The Seeds song is called “Greatest Commandment,” track 4 on “Seeds of Purpose.” This is such an important verse to have memorized, and you can take Jesus’ word for it… in the verse! 🙂 Here it is:
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
In verse 28 Jesus was asked what is the most important commandment. We know from the verses following this passage that the guy who asked the question, a teacher of the law, was genuinely looking for truth from Jesus and not trying to trap him as some others were. I enjoy how concise Jesus’ answer is while also covering broad ground. But just because Jesus said there is really only one important thing does not mean we have found an easy way out. To love God and love others covers everything. That’s how two commandments are actually one- if I love God, that will lead me to love others. This one commandment can guide my entire life from the inside out.
If Jesus himself said that these are the most important things to do and add up to the one greatest thing, I should hop to. It is something I can incorporate daily: how can I love God in this situation? How can I love others? How can I look for new opportunities and take advantage of the opportunities I already have?
For those of us who are teaching younger people how to follow the Lord, this passage is an important one. If there are two categories- loving God and loving others- how do our actions fit into each one? The good behaviors we try to teach children like sharing, honesty, politeness, obedience, responsibility, etc. can each fit into one of those categories. And as the adults in those relationships we need to be examples of how we strive to behave in similar ways, explaining why when we get the opportunity. Thankfully we don’t have to rely on our own strength to do this; God loves us and gives us his Spirit as our helper.
For some Old Testament background on this verse, look up Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Leviticus 19:18.