All of Me for All of You
An allegory about worship using scripture.
There’s a verse in a book of the Bible called Luke. This verse, for those who are unfamiliar, goes like this
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
It’s a great verse that we’ll unpack in a moment but when you read your Bible context is king. It is all too easy to speak a passage out of turn and make it work for your specific purpose. That’s not the goal today friends. Today’s goal is to learn a little bit about the subject of worship as it pertains to God’s relationship with humanity.
Scripturally we’re about to enter into the story of the Good Samaritan. Something we’ll dive into in another post cause it’s just too good to pass up. Jesus is teaching to a group and an expert in the law speaks up.
It’s interesting to read that this expert may very well be a member of the same religious sect who later aims to kill Jesus. This question, we find, is a test. The expert asks “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
I mean seriously that’s such a loaded question especially coming from an expert in the law, who knows very well what you must do.
Jesus even asks him “what does the law tell you?” “How do you read it?”
We might read this and think “Oh, that’s an interesting response. Jesus is asking his opinion…”
But it’s not all that uncommon actually.
You see in the culture and age of Jesus’ upbringing Rabbi’s and spiritual leaders were known for having their own interpretation of their readings of scripture. For those who followed that particular Rabbi, taking on and following that teacher’s interpretation of scripture was known as taking on that Rabbi’s yoke.
The Yoke. That sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
The religious teacher answers Jesus with the common verse we know.
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.’"
Jesus’ response is one, I’d like to guess, of amusement. A slight smile at the corner of his lips.
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus says. “Do this and you will live.”
Now, the passage goes on to include Jesus giving an example of a neighbor which shocked a bunch of people and, no doubt, slipped up the religious leaders’ trap, but we’re going to focus on this one small passage because, even in this, there’s a lot to pick up on.
If you would allow me, I want to point something out.
First, a bit about the human brain.
The human brain is comprised of nearly 90 billion brain cells. Of those, close to a billion are synapses (responsible for the brain's ability to communicate and form thoughts within itself) These synapses can fire somewhere near 10,000 times per second. This makes the brain more powerful than any super-computer found on the planet.
Our mind is capable of creating thought, imagination, language, creative intentionality.
The brain needs a constant supply of oxygen to survive and this is an important fact in my analogy, so keep it in mind.
Now a word about the human heart.
The human heart does the most physical work of any muscle during it’s lifetime. Beating at about 100,000 times per day, a heart will beat somewhere in the area of 2.5 billion times before it beats it’s last.
The heart is capable of living on it’s own outside of the body because of it’s own electrical impulse. As long as it has oxygen it can survive. This is another fact for my analogy I need you to remember.
Humanity has equated the idea of love and affection with the heart. We’ve got a number of idioms to back this up. Broken-hearted, heartache, having a big heart, to cross one's heart, having a heart of stone, knocking on a hearts door, and the list goes on.
I’m sure you know whats next. A word about the idea of a soul.
Now, much of what I’m saying here is subjective. There’s little physical evidence of the soul but many people in this world, both spiritual and non-spiritual people believe that humans have a soul. In fact, there’s even a nomenclature built around music for the word and it’s meaning.
The idea of a soul is collectively thought to reside in the heart, or at least the area of the heart.
In greek, the word soul is called “psychē” which is “to breathe”. Remember the "to breathe" bit. That's important here.
You see where I’m going with all of this?
Let’s talk about the word strength.
For this, I’m going to copy and paste a description that is found on an entomology website.
Old English strengþu, strengð "bodily power, force, vigor, firmness, fortitude, manhood, moral resistance," from Proto-Germanic *strangitho with Proto-Germanic abstract noun suffix *-itho (see -th (2)).
Now, there's a lot going on there but I want to point out a couple of words before we finally get to the point of all this thing. Here are the words;
Here’s where I’m going with all of this. My allegory in regards to this scripture is this.
Mind = God
Heart = Jesus
Soul = Holy Spirit
Strength = Mankind
And here is the kicker in my analogy. According to the facts I presented.
The mind cannot live without oxygen provided by blood which is pumped from the heart. The heart cannot survive alone without oxygen which is provided by breathing, and the soul can not live in the body without the mind and the heart operating as they should. These three parts all need the human body and the human body needs all three parts. and all the parts need each other.
None can exist without the other.
I don't know about you but that may be worth reading again. Mind, Heart, Soul, and Body all need each other.
'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.’"
So in this scripture, we see God being loved by Christ, the Holy Spirit, Humanity, and Himself. A perfect love, and an example of love by which God wants us to love the people around us with. A love that is not just parts of us, but the whole of everything we are. Not a conditional love, but an unconditional one. A love that includes God, Jesus, the Spirit and ourselves working in harmony.
There have been moments in all of our lives where we’ve asked, “How could I ever love this person after what they’ve done” or “So-and-so is just so hard to love”. It’s helpful to remember that we don’t love alone. As Christ extends Himself in love so does the Father, and so does the Spirit, and so do we.
This leads us back to where we started because I like circles.
Jesus is standing in front of a religious leader who is trying to trap Him, and Jesus is about to go into a story about loving someone that the Jewish culture found unlovable.
So Jesus says to the man
“You have answered correctly, do this and you will live.”
I believe Jesus sees the best in His creation. So when He spoke this to the religious leader, He believed that the man would make the best decision, the choice that would lead to his own salvation from religiosity and judgment.
But it’s helpful to remember that It’s completely possible to say the all the right things but to still miss God’s intention completely.
This is why Jesus went on. This is why Jesus talked about the Samaritan, and this is why we will talk about the Samaritan too in the near future.
Now I challenge you, dear reader, to love God with all of your Heart, with all of your Soul, with all of your Mind and with all of the Strength within you.
And as you love yourself. Extend that love to everyone around you and with intention….