FirstToday’s Word: ‘FIRST’ as in… what’s first on your list of things that you’d grab if your house was on fire? If you had less than a minute(!) to grab stuff that mattered, what would you choose?

Here’s a hint just in case you need one: whatever you grab should have a beating heart.

And yes, there must be a better way to ask this question without having to imagine something on fire. I’ll work on that.

Every Monday evening, Tuesday morning, and Wednesday at noon, many of us gather together to plow our way through the Gospel of Mark. This past Tuesday morning we did a deep dive into the story in Mark’s gospel about a scribe who was uber-willing to step out of his comfort zone to ask Jesus a question. And I don’t believe for a second that this is a test question; he really wanted to know: “Rabbi, what is the most important law?” I imagine him alternately looking over his shoulder to see who’s watching him, and trying to get a quiet moment with the Rabbi to simply ask, “Teacher, of all of these laws – all 613 of them, which one is the most important?”

Now let’s use our imaginations with this: Jesus looks at him and thinks to himself, “Two-for-One!” Then Jesus says,

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your might, and with all your strength. Basically, give it all you got! And then some! And just as long as I’ve got you here, and while your buddies over there are still watching from a distance thinking that you’ve got me all tied up in knots—here’s the second one, the second first one, which you didn’t ask for, but I’m going to give it to you anyway: Love your neighbor as yourself!”

It’s no secret that loving God with all we’ve got—with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength will find its clearest, most compelling expression in how we treat others, how we give ourselves away and invest ourselves in others.


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