Majors and Minors.
No, not baseball! No, not the prophets either.
Yesterday, I watched a videoed sermon about major and minor things Jesus said. The speaker’s agenda was to get his audience to see that there are somethings Jesus says worth fighting over and somethings he believes that Jesus or the New Testament penman said that we can gloss over or even ignore completely. He surmises that we have majored in the minors and minored in the majors.
If I followed him correctly, he believes there are two major statements from Jesus that we read in the context of both Matthew 22:34-40 and Mark 12:28-33. In these parallel passages Jesus answers a question about the greatest command. Jesus’ answer reveals that all the Law and Prophets depend on these two commands:
- The greatest command is “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and with all your strength.”
- The second greatest commandment is similar stating that “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
For the record, I cannot argue with Jesus. I will not argue with Jesus.
Loving God with our entirety and loving our neighbor are central to being a person of God, a follower of Christ. If you simply scan through the accounts of the Gospel (Matthew, Mark, Like, and John) you will see Jesus as an example of these two commands. Additionally, when you read the Law of Moses (or just the Ten Commandments) and the message of the Prophets, you quickly see how everything God demanded of His people depends on their Love for God and their love for those around them. Jesus is RIGHT!
JESUS is right!
But the speaker I was listening too missed Jesus’ point. The speaker was stating that what we do as and in worship as it applies to our praise in song does not matter as long as we love God and our neighbor. The logical conclusion of this speaker’s train of thought is that you can do ANYTHING as worship if you do it because you love God and you are living love toward your neighbor. (Admittedly, he did say this only applies if there is no obvious connection to the simple gospel message. But if his argument is taken to the logical conclusion anything is acceptable.) Yet, as I read Jesus’ statement, I hear Him saying that loving God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength means that God and His will come first over my desires and my preferences. Come to think of it, the same Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15).
If we truly love God with all that we are (our entirety), we will search His will to ensure that we are doing what He wants. We will check ourselves and we will set our desires aside for what He regulates as the worship He desires. This is not majoring in the minors. This is majoring on loving God.
Look back to Jesus, the One who told us the greatest two commandments, the One whose life exemplifies these two great loves. He loved his neighbor (you and me) so immensely that He died for our sin, paying the penalty we owed (John 15:13). He loved God (the Father) enough to set aside personal desire to make that sacrifice. I recall His prayer in the Garden, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39). NEVERTHELESS!
Let us keep our focus on the standard of God’s will and always seek to please Him out of our love for Him.
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