Summary: Loving God with our mind includes using it for pursuits that glorify him and proclaim Him to the watching world.

A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste*

Mark 12:28-34

Sermon Objective: Loving God with our mind includes using it for pursuits that glorify him and draw us into deeper fellowship.

Supporting Scripture: Matthew 5:13-14; Romans 7:25; Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Philippians 4:8; 2 Timothy 4:13; Hebrews 8:8-11; 1 Peter 1:13; 1 Peter 3:15; 2 Peter 3:1

Mark 12:28-34

28One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"

29"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: ’Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’31The second is this: ’Love your neighbor as yourself. ’There is no commandment greater than these."

32"Well said, teacher," the man replied. "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."

34When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.


Nathaniel Colver was born on May 10, 1874 and lived in Champlain, New York; his family was one of 13 families to reside there at the time. He was born into a Christian home and spent the vast majority of his youth learning to read from three books, The Bible, a Psalm book, and a spelling book. At the age of 18 he fought in the war of 1812 and afterwards returned to cobbling shoes and “thinking about religion.”

In 1819, Mr. Colver was asked to attained a prayer meeting at a church in West Stockbridge that was without a pastor. Upon arriving, one of the deacons announced that Nathaniel would be preaching that night. Colver informed the deacon that he was not a preacher and the deacon handed him a text, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” The deacon then informed him that he was a preacher “now.” And after that meeting the deacon board announced that Nathaniel would be preaching again, at the school house, in a matter of minutes.

Colver’s account of the event says “I felt I belonged to God, no longer to myself, and that henceforth I would think only of God and God’s cause, and leave Him to take care of Nathaniel Colver.”

Thus the ministry of Nathaniel Colver began. He went on to serve as a Baptist pastor in Ogdensburg, Gouverneur, and in “that desolate outpost, Malone.”

But his pastoral ministry was not the most influential aspect of his life. The legacy that continues began when he served at “Hamilton Theological and Literary Institution” which is now known as Colgate University. He was also influential in the fight against slavery and, from that fame, was a co-founder of two theological schools that are still in operation today, Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia and Divinity School at the University of Chicago (then known as Baptist theological Union).

(From Lewis N Powell’s book, “Out of the North Country: Christian Pioneers of Northern New York”)

Love the Lord your God with all your … mind

Have you noticed the difference between Jesus’ response in Mark 12 and the original use of this passage in Deuteronomy 6? The difference is that Jesus adds a “category”. Deuteronomy 6 is missing Love the Lord your God with all your … mind. Now to be fair, the Hebrew word “leeb” (heart) includes some of the characteristics of thinking, deciding, etc. but it is not specifically mentioned and not a completely transferable concept.Jesus definitely adds a dynamic to loving God by intentionally stating that we are to do it with our minds.

I do not think it is by accident that, when speaking to a scholar, Jesus adds the mind into the equation.

“Most Christians would rather die than think—in fact, they do!” So said Bertrand Russell, certainly no friend of Christians, but a man who has a point to make.

There exists within the church an unfortunate aversion to thinking on the part of many; in fact, there is almost hostility towards it in some quarters! There is a sense in which, for some, that thinking hard is even “unspiritual” or leads away from faith. But any dichotomy between rigorous thinking and sincere discipleship is a false dichotomy, because Jesus tells us to love God with our minds!

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