“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30)
Jesus is describing how broad, deep and complete our love of God should be. It should include heart, soul, mind and strength.
With our heart and soul, we love God with our non-physical and eternal nature – that part of our inner being that uniquely reflects who we are as an individual person and a creation of God. With our mind, we love God with our physical and present nature – our intellect, thought, reason and will. With our strength, we love God with our actions supported by our determination and perseverance.
To help us understand how to love an unseen God, Jesus gives a human illustration in what he describes as the second commandment to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love of self, or survival, is one of the first laws of nature. It is instinct. We don’t even have to think about it. The love Jesus is calling us to embrace, however, is to overcome the instinct of putting self first.
So how do we love like this? Let me illustrate with a story.
I have a friend, Jack, who used to own and insurance brokerage. His office manager was diagnosed with cancer of the tongue and had surgery. She could no longer speak clearly, which was the most important part of her job in interfacing with the firm’s customers. She was one year from retirement and for her to stop work at this time would have resulted in significant personal hardship. Jack took the time to personally call all of the firm’s more than 80 customers to let them know of her condition and ask if they could work with her under the circumstances. He also asked them for their prayers and understanding.
Jack said, “I knew they loved and respected her, but I didn’t realize how much until the cards, letters, flowers, and gifts came pouring into the office.” Both the employees of Jack’s firm and the customers expressed a desire to work with her in spite of her disability until her retirement at age of 65.
Here we see the kind of love that Jesus was talking about in Jack’s effort to go the extra mile on behalf of his office manager.
Loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength starts with the little things. If we let them become a habit, then we start to love God as Jesus commands.
Think of a time when you loved another person with your whole being. Did you realize you were loving God as well?