WITH ALL YOUR HEART

by David Sisler

John was a 29 year old businessman from Hot Springs, Arkansas. He and another man were passengers in a one engine plane flying to Little Rock. The pilot asked John, "Would you like to handle her for a few minutes?"

"Sure," John said. After a few minutes, he asked the pilot to take back the controls. Only then did he realize the pilot had died of a massive heart attack. Neither John nor the other man knew anything about flying.

John located the radio and called for help. Two flight instructors from Hot Springs flew up in a plane exactly like the one he was in. They gave him instructions, and John who had never flown a plane, flew sixty miles to Little Rock and landed safely. When asked how he did it, he responded, "I followed directions very carefully."

Moses looked back over forty years of leadership. He called Israel together and reminded them of the words which formed the basis of their national life. He rehearsed for them the Ten Commandments. Many of the people listening to him would not have been alive at the time God originally wrote the laws on tablets of stone. Then he gave them one more direction. It remains the basis for the worship of Orthodox Jews today. Jesus said it was the greatest commandment: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might."

It is easy think of God in purely intellectual terms. Moses and Jesus both warned that God must never be separated from love. We must keep Him near our hearts. If we ever separate our hearts from Him we make Him little more than a distant idol. We must always respond to God with childlike love. Even if a child does not understand, he can still love, and respond to love.

When Jesus repeated Moses' statement, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might," He added, "This is the first and great commandment." Before God said, "Thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal," this law was one of the commands of His universe. The first commandment God gave to Moses was, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Every other commandment has its basis in this one.

The man was a prison chaplain. One of thirteen children, he was abandoned by his parents. His wife said, "When we met, he didn't trust anyone. The first three years of our marriage, he didn't even trust me."

The man has a special ability. With no formal training he takes fourth grade dropouts and within three months they have advanced to seventh grade level. When he was asked how he did it, he just shrugged his shoulders. "I just love them," he said.

The man is white, most of the children are black, but they seem to detect no differences because of their respective races. "I've had it just as hard as any of them," the man said. "No one ever looks at my color. I just love them."

Do you know the context in which Jesus spoke about those two great commandments? He was standing in the temple watching people give gifts of money to God. Some gifts were large, some were small. The larger the gift, the larger the coin, and the better sound it would make when it was thrown into the offering box. The smaller the gift, the smaller the sound. The crowd would notice a big gift. Almost no one would notice a small gift.

Into that scene walked a woman everyone knew to be a widow. Her offering was two very small copper coins. Together they were worth less than one penny. Do you know what Jesus said about her offering? "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put in more than all the others."

Are you saying, you can measure your love for God by the size of your offering? Absolutely not. I'm merely repeating what Jesus said. If you love God, give Him everything you have even what you keep, let it be as though it had been given to Him. And most of all, give Him yourself. Only in that way can you love God with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your might. Follow the directions very carefully.

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Copyright 2001 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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