All Means All
Have you encountered a child who can lob questions faster than any adult can field them? What is it about that experience that rattles us? Is it the mental challenge of recalling facts and data we learned long ago, the frustration of not having a quick answer, or the interruptions themselves? Then there are those moments when the question comes from the heart as the child earnestly seeks wisdom and looks to us for guidance. That is a humbling experience, isn’t it? There is no better example for us to look to than Jesus as He patiently fielded question after question.
Many people who questioned Jesus played word games hoping to trap or discredit Him. One man came in earnest to ask about an oft-debated dilemma.
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 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 is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31
What does loving God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength look like? Jesus pointed to the lifestyles of the Jewish leaders who loved the praise of men and appeared to be devoted to God yet were faking the relationship. The Son of God warned us to beware of such phoniness (Mark 12:38-40).
The Savior sat across from the offering boxes and watched as those coming into the temple brought their donations. Some made certain others noticed their actions and generosity. Their motives were earthly not heavenly as they sought man’s approval.
Slipping in among the rich attendees was a poor widow. Her plain outfit stood in stark contrast to the fine clothing of those filling the coffers. Few noticed her, but Jesus saw her heart. Behind every face is a story that we’ll never know unless we connect and ask questions. We don’t have Christ’s insight into human hearts. He knew her character and her sincerity. He understood every aspect of her life, every circumstance, and every trial that had molded her.
Jesus used her example to teach a weighty lesson. She modeled what the Scripture means by loving God with all one’s heart, soul, mind and strength.
All her heart – Others were dressed in fine clothes, and their offerings plummeted loudly in the collection boxes. This lady’s gift seemed insignificant, noiseless, and nearly worthless in comparison. Her love propelled her to express worship to God in the most extravagant way she could. She gave her all.
All her soul – The poor widow trusted God with her future. She counted on His promise “that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” If God could assure her eternal destiny, He was capable of caring for her daily needs. Her strong faith gave confidence that her resources would accomplish more in His hands than she could imagine. She gave her all.
All her mind – Peace flooded her thoughts as she approached with two small coins. She determined to view life’s circumstances in comparison to almighty God. She held in her hand all she owned and released it with certainty. She gave her all.
All her strength – True worship is not about bling or performance or being noticed by others. It’s a matter of the heart. And, yes, it takes strength we can only receive from God to reach the point where we can say, “all my heart, all my soul, all my mind and all my strength are involved for Him.” Worshiping at this level often implies we are swimming upstream against a torrent of humanity rushing a different direction.
The widow could have given one coin and kept the other. Her generosity would have exceeded most in the temple that day anyway. But we see that in her relationship with God all means all. That’s all all can mean.