What does it mean to you to love God with all your heart? With all your soul? With all your strength? With all your mind? And your neighbor as yourself? (Luke 10:27)
At first I thought there might be a different definition for each question, but upon reflecting, I believe they are all wrapped into one (perhaps that should read “One”). How do you love someone with all your heart? To me, that means you would do absolutely anything for them. What is your soul? Your soul is your very essence, the sum of your innermost feelings. To me, that is everything you are about, and everything in which you believe. That means you can’t be drawn into those things that lead you away from those beliefs. To love with all your strength? Easy to say. Not so easily accomplished. That is to put forth your all and never weaken. Loving with all your mind recognizes a belief in the concept of God.
So then, we must be willing to do absolutely anything for God. Nothing (not wealth, not food, not power, nor a myriad of other temptations…) should be able to lead us away from our love for Him. We must never weaken and we must truly know this God in whom we profess belief.
Additionally, the commandment tells us that you must love your neighbor – just as much as you love yourself. Most of us love ourselves pretty well, don’t we? That means that we cannot ignore another’s need in hopes that someone else will take care of “it,” whatever “it” is. We are charged with doing for others, all that we would do for ourselves. If we thirst, we get ourselves a drink. If we are hungry, we eat. If we see others who are homeless, lonely, or otherwise in need, we are charged to treat them as we would wish to be treated. This isn’t always convenient, and it is not always enjoyable. At times, it is downright challenging. Do unto others as you would have done to you….
Our God has high standards, doesn’t He?