Embarrassed by the ridiculousness of my incredible oversight, ready to phone the maker of my granddaughter’s gift, frustrated, grumbling, accusing… but then there it was, staring available all along. The necessary final component of her look-like-her-nanny-tractor was mounted to the tractor itself, in plain sight, but I was so ready to find fault, to thrust the manufacturer of this really cool gift under a rocketing steam engine of punishing verbal abuse. Some of us, it appears, may never learn to look before we react.
I can’t help but think it must have been similar on that day my Pastor speaks recently of, that familiar story when a lawyer, a scribe, tested Jesus to choose among the over six-hundred laws governing Israel as to which should take precedence over the others.
I must admit that while I cherish my Lord’s answer, some things never occurred to my overlooking mind, such as this was a Scribe, a suggested master of the Law, or that he would have spent his entire life copying, studying, and arguing the Law. This interrogator would have known the Law like the back of his hand. But what he didn’t know, was, “Which Law was the greatest?”
So Jesus, in exactness, told him, “You will love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.” Matthew 22:34-38
Quite frankly it is obvious how this scene ought to have made a lawyer blush. The scribe literally asked Jesus to quote what he was wearing on his forehead (Phylactery). Not what Jesus was wearing, by the way, but the scribe. He had worn these words on his forehead from a very young age. Before wearing them on his forehead, the very words Jesus quoted were stamped on the front porch posts of his parent’s home for all his childhood. Adding to the outrageous scenario here, these very words were an everyday familiar part of his life. Do you see the irony?
I love the thought that Jesus could have simply said, “Dude, take that thing off your forehead and read it for once!” But he didn’t. Instead, he offered grace as he always does.
Applicably, I would have to be blind myself to not recognize that I neglect these words no less than the scribe. The greatest commandment my God has given me is to love Him with my everything. Truth be known, as Jesus will conclude, until I resign my heart to that command, I’ll never inwardly care about keeping any of the others anyway. What difference will it make if one law is held greater than another if I fail greatest at the Greatest?
In a previous message, my Pastor exclaimed God’s love for me, but then he couldn’t fail to announce the fruit of that love is my love in return. I love Him because He first loved me.
So, where then, do we stand? Quite frankly, I hope you are seeing exactly what I’m seeing, a bunch of people, like me, consumed by exaggerating our pet laws, although in essence legitimate they may be, dismissing the paramount.
I wonder what will change should my first priority become loving my God? And you?