Have you noticed the conflict between Jesus and religious people? I think this is one of the most overlooked pieces of the Jesus stories in our world. Well, maybe not completely overlooked...but passed over in how they relate to us. I believe there are many times when we, as Christians today, could probably see ourselves in the stories of the Pharisees. I'm just not so sure we would like what we see. I think we read them and relate them to others instead of ourselves. So we read the stories and just pass over them. Notice that Jesus isn't real interested in all the religious debates these religious people want to start. Yes, He answers their questions and leaves them angry, but He just doesn't seem that interested in religiocity. I love the story of the 'tax' question. I love the way Jesus responds and turns the tables. But my favorite piece of today's passage is found in verses 28-34.

I'm not sure why he asked the question, "What is the greatest commandment?" Maybe, like many of us, he just wanted to know the most important thing. Maybe in the spirit of the surrounding stories, he was trying to trap Jesus. For Jews, all of the law found in the Torah was important. Maybe he was just trying to catch Jesus 'off His game.' I'm not sure why he asked, but I am so glad that he did. I have a feeling that I would have asked this question. And Jesus' response? It becomes a direction for us, a foundation for us, it becomes the thing we should focus on every single day of our lives. Here it is. "Love God with everything you are and love other people with no strings attached." (my paraphrase) Period. Everything comes down to this: Loving God and loving other people. That's it.

So, the question today...How are you doing at the most important thing? How are you doing at loving God with everything you are? How are you loving people with no strings attached? And after answering those questions, what can you do to take another step in loving God and loving others today? These are the most important things.

Father, forgive me for not loving You with everything I am. Forgive me for making gods of the things in our world. Forgive me for loving money and stuff. Father, forgive me for ignoring people around me. Forgive me for thinking only of myself. Forgive me for the agendas I often have with other people. Lead me to love them with no strings attached today. Help me to love You and love others like Jesus did. Amen.


  1. Chris Potts once taught on this and said the math doesn't add up. If I am supposed to love God with everything, how do I have anything left to love others? Great question. The answer was pretty simple. Loving others with no strings attached is one of the ways we love God. They're not mutually exclusive, they work together really well. Loving others IS loving God, and loving God produces love for others. Takes some of the pressure off for me.

  2. Thanks Matt--my heart needed to reflect on that today!

  3. I ran into Lindi at the store today. She said she appreciated what I said to Corey at the Johnson's dinner. I said when someone loves my kid they are loving me. She took that and applied it to how God the Father feels when we love His Son. When she shared that with me I added that I think He feels that way when we love those who are made in His image.