Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I Gots to Know!

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Today's Post: Over the recent months God has been impressing more and more on me the core essential nature of two commands which Jesus emphasized and left us with found in Mark 12:30–31 and other places. These are, from Mark, “And 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.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

According to Jesus, all other commandments, and in fact the whole law, hang on these. In fact, it is safe to say from the Bible, that love should be the very fragrance of the Christian—the defining mark by which the world will judge both our Christianity, and even Jesus Himself.

So, I have shared with our fellowship that we will be beginning a period of looking at these two commandments, starting with loving the Lord, our God, with all of our heart and soul and mind and strength, and at some point moving in to loving our neighbor as ourself—loving others as Christ loved us. While there is nothing I will be able to teach that will “make”anyone love God with their all (that is a transaction each person must choose to make with God), we can look at what God means by that, what it should look like, and what our role in it is.

In our society, love has been reduced to a feeling that comes and goes, and a word we all use way to casually and easily, when, in reality, I believe that love is probably more costly, and more of a choice, than many of us, including myself, realize—both in our love for God and our love for others. I have asked our fellowship to meditate on this first commandment. I really look forward to hearing what God shares with us on what He means by loving Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

So, as the bank robber said to Dirty Harry when Clint Eastwood made his famous, “So, do you feel lucky, punk?” line, “I gots to know!”—I “gots” to know what YOU think God means by loving Him with all of our heart, soul, mind/understanding, and strength. What is He asking? What does it really look like? Does He really mean ALL, and if so how can that be? What is our role in it? What might our life look like if we really did that? Your prayerful comments on this will, I believe, bless both me and others. Please consider meditating on this most important commandment (it is a command, by the way) of all, and don't shy away from the depth of choice and cost you may come to realize it means.

Note: In keeping in the vein of the Clint Eastwood theme of this post, what follows is a fun piece of useless trivia about me for any of you interested in not just my thoughts and reflections, but also in me as a person (ignore it if not—no hard feelings).

When I was at West Point in the mid-80s I was a huge Clint Eastwood fan (especially of his westerns). My roommate, from Puerto Rico, was as well, and to hear him recite lines from Eastwood’s movies in a Puerto Rican, twirled r accent, was really quite fun! (The picture is of him and me in front of the Clint Eastwood poster on the back of our room’s door.) We memorized many of Eastwood's classic lines (“When you have to shoot, shoot, don’t talk,” plus, “I know what you're thinking. Did he fire six shots or only five? Well, to tell you the truth...,” and, “Dyin' ain't much of a living, boy,” plus more). When Clint was elected mayor of my hometown of Carmel, California, it warranted a special late night phone call from my folks with the election news, and when I made the varsity pistol team my dad had a friend of his who was also a friend of Clint’s get me an autographed still from the movie The Outlaw Josey Wales, with a note written on it from Clint Eastwood congratulating me. Now, all of that is probably way more than most of you would ever want to know, but a few of you may enjoy it. God bless (and, no, I don’t still memorize his lines—now I memorize God’s lines—smile).

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