Summary: The greatest Command of loving God with everything you’ve got means that we’ve got to be willing to follow our freely chosen master to whom we give total and complete allegiance, attention, and adoration. When the command to love God this way was first gi
Love Means Obedience
Agatha Burgess is 87 years old and lives in the small mill town of Buffalo, South Carolina. She gets up every morning at five o’clock and begins cooking, and she has been doing this for over twenty years. She gets up and cooks for the local Meals on Wheels. At 11:00 A.M. volunteers come by her house and take the food she cooks to elderly people who can’t cook for themselves, or for other needy folks.
By noon, another group of people come to Agatha’s house for lunch. Mill workers, judges, truck drivers, anyone who comes at noon gets to fill their plates and go back for seconds. Agatha runs an all you can eat kitchen. For all this, they pay $ 2.75. She knows that’s too much for some of the folks who come by, so if they don’t pay she doesn’t say anything.
A Newspaper reporter was doing a story on this remarkable woman and asked her the obvious question, why? Why do you do this 5 day a week every week? I need you to listen to Agatha’s reply because it is the heart of our message tonight. She said “I do this because I love it. I always wanted to be a person that lived by the side of the road, and could be called a friend to man. She said that she would continue to do this until she died because this is what she lived for, and these people coming everyday mean so much to her.
Agatha Burgess probably knows more about our text tonight than I do, but she isn’t here, so you are stuck with me. Let’s read it, and then let’s pray.
Matthew 22: 34-40
We have heard this passage our whole life but have you ever stopped to ask yourself what it means to love God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind?
The passage we just read was first spoken in Deuteronomy 6:5 there it reads this way: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
So to understand what it means to love God with heart, soul, mind and strength, we need to know what those things meant to the ancient Hebrews.
To the Hebrew these three places in the body meant something.
The heart was the place where decisions were made, where emotions were felt, where thinking was done, where secrets were hidden, where desires came from. You could decide with your heart, feel with your heart, think with it, hide things in it, and desire with it.
The soul was the place where decisions were made, where emotions were felt, where thinking was done, where secrets were hidden, where desires came from. You could decide with you soul, fell with your soul, think with it, hide things in it, and desire with it.
And guess what you do with your mind? Decide, think, feel, hide, and desire. Heart, soul, and mind are used interchangeably in the Bible.
All three of these parts referred to the same thing. So what’s the point of the passage then?
When the Bible says that we are to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, it doesn’t mean that there are three or four different aspects of our existence, all of which must love God. It means that we are to love God with all that we’ve got. It means total commitment. It means total obedience to God.
A professor of theological ethics opened his class for the semester by reading a letter from a parent to a government official.
The parent complained that his son, who had received a good education, gone to all the right schools, and was headed for a good job as a lawyer, had gotten involved with a weird religious sect. The father continued that the members of this sect controlled his every move, told him whom to date and whom not to date, and had taken all of his money. The parent pleaded with the government official to do something about this strange religious group.
Then the professor asked the students, "Who is this letter describing?"
There was quite a debate, with the class discussing some off the wall group cults, like the Branch Dividend’s, or those who were going to join the spaceship at the tail of Haley’s Comet. After about 15 minutes of discussion the Professor revealed that the letter was from a third century Roman parent concerned about a group of people called.... Christians.
It doesn’t sound so weird now does it?
The greatest Command of loving God with everything you’ve got means that we’ve got to be willing to follow our freely chosen master to whom we give total and complete allegiance, attention, and adoration. When the command to love God this way was first given, it was surrounded by a context that demanded obedience.