I want you to notice something in our reading today. The question that is asked by the “expert in the law” is what is the greatest commandment?
Jesus replied ““‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.3 This is the first and greatest commandment.39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
It doesn’t take the Son of God to get this question right. But look at what the lawyer wasn’t asking. He wasn’t asking how he should obey the law to receive salvation. He simply asked which law was the greatest.
If I were there, I’d love to have asked that Lawyer why he asked it. The text doesn’t say, but we do know that Jesus was being tested. Maybe they thought Jesus was loosey goosey with this theology, and his answer here shows that he is not.
Jesus gives us the commandments of God in boiled down to their very essence.
One might think that such a beautiful phrase and such a short one would be easy to live into, it is not.
That is where our theme word for the day comes in, practice. Putting into practice these words of Jesus takes a lifetime and more! Love the Lord your God with all you got, no holding back, wait… we holler… what about self-care? Jesus doesn’t mention it. What he does mention, is that we are also to love our neighbor as ourselves. I think we find that when we care for others as well as we care for ourselves life is pretty good.
There is also grace here I think. You likely have heard the phrase “practice makes perfect.” well I am here to tell you that is not so. Don’t get me wrong the surest way to improve is to practice, but it will only take you so far. We are a broken people and perfection, just isn’t doable.
That being said, practice does bring progress, practice does result in often beautiful results. Practice often can be a rearward unto itself. When we put perfection in God’s hands, we are freed to live into the beauty of loving relationships based on God’s perfect love as we await the day of our salvation in Jesus Christ.