The Most Important One3
“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.’
- Mark 12:29-30
Jesus shines a spotlight on the ancient Hebrew text of the Shema Yisrael. He’s quoting a text from Deuteronomy 6 and a key moment in the history of God’s people, when they received the commandments from the Lord. And he’s shifting the focus of the question.
Jesus has been asked: “Of all of the commandments, which is the most important?” And although he quotes a commandment, he slips around a core presupposition in the question. The “most important one” is not a commandment.
The Most Important One is the Lord our God. He’s the one we’re supposed to love with all our heart and soul and mind and strength. He’s the one who deserves our worship and devotion. He’s most important to us.
Don’t let the commandments take the place of God. Don’t let rituals and routines reign in your heart. Don’t let your rhythms of worship take the place of the God who loves you. Hold your religion loosely and your God tightly.
Where have you gotten attached too tightly to a commandment or rule or expectation? What might God be inviting you to hold more loosely in order to cling more tightly to him?