The occasion dictated that I purchase a greeting card for my wife. I read perhaps a dozen cards before selecting one that conveyed my thoughts and sentiments. I waited until close to the time to present the card to sign and add my personalized comments enabling me to be timely and reflect deeply. Each comment was personal and heartfelt, an attempt to express my love and appreciation for who she is and all that she has done.
As I was about to sign my name, I noticed the bottom line, “Happy Birthday!”. That was a problem. It wasn’t her birthday. It was our anniversary.
Now, in my defense, the card was in the anniversary card section, and all the other cards I read (I think) were anniversary cards. But that didn’t make a difference. Time was near and I was committed. I had to give her the wrong card.
Fortunately, after 37 years of marriage, we can laugh about these things. I’ve certainly made many more and much bigger mistakes.
Jesus gives us another bottom line in Mark 12:30-31. As He answers a question about the greatest commandment, He tells us, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is, Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.”
As we consider our love for God, we must consider who He is – Father, Son, and Spirit – and what He has done. He has most completely revealed Himself in the person and work of Jesus Christ. As Hebrews 1:3 tells us, Jesus is “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of his nature”.
As we love God, C.H. Spurgeon reminds us to “abide hard by the cross and search the mystery of His wounds”. Thomas à Kempis adds, “If you seek Jesus in all things, you will surely find Jesus. And if you seek yourself, you will surely find yourself, but only to your ruin. For a man who does not seek Jesus does himself greater hurt than the whole world and all his enemies could ever do him.”
As we go through life, we must pay attention to the bottom line. No matter what you may sentimentally say about Jesus, love is a choice. It may have sentiment associated with it, but it remains a choice.
Do you truly love Jesus? Do you give Him your heart and your soul committing your very being to Him? Do you focus your passions, your energy, your desires on Him?
Do you give Him your mind and all your thoughts? The idea of strength in Mark 12 is not simply about muscles; strength implies all the resources, all the possessions, all the manpower that you can muster. Think army. Do you give Him all your strength? Do you love Him enough to love as He loves, loving your neighbor sacrificially?
Don’t miss this. Jesus is not looking for a cheesy card. He’s not looking for a token, scheduled acknowledgment of His sovereignty. And it won’t be funny if you get it wrong. He is looking for all of you – heart, soul, mind, and strength – bottom line.