BURTON, MI – Serving as a Pastor has many joys. There is no greater joy that I have experienced in my 20 years of ministry work than to see someone come to a greater understanding of God which leads to a next step of faith and life transformation. That’s a pleasure that we find in our communication to all who will hear. And for those who seem prepared to listen, there seems to be an underlying interest. They want to know, as we all really do, what it is that God wants. And we aren’t the first ones to want these answers.
One of the scribes approached. When he heard them debating and saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked him, “Which command is the most important of all?”
Jesus answered, “The most important is Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is, Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.” -- Mark 12:28-31 (CSB)
In the middle of this most familiar of passages, in the “testing of Jesus,” an important dialogue is taking place that has significant ramifications for us all. What ramifications you may ask? This discourse shows us that the most important of commands from God is to love. (I know. I know. It’s a radical new idea here.) To love God and to love others is of utmost rank in God’s economy, and thus in our message to those we come in contact with.
We must share with urgency & passion about the person who is the One True & Only Living God. We must proclaim with love about who He is (majestic & mighty); about what He has done (the redemption & the restoration); and about what He has said (His Word, His Will, & His Way). By communicating this truth in love well, it is my prayer that those that hear about Him will understand His love for them and see why He is worthy of such love. He is worthy of love through our all of heart’s affections. He is worthy of love through our complete soul’s relation. He is worthy of love through all of our mind’s attention. He is worthy of love through all of our strength’s interaction. This is the vertical relationship of love that is based on the Gospel.
We must also teach about this love for God that is such an immense relationship vertically that it has a transformation horizontally among our fellow man. It is a love that has made it’s way to us as it was also on the way to someone else. This is a calling, compelling, & charging love. We are never left the same when we find out what God really wants. We are certainly never the same when we start to do and share what He wants. Let us love as He has declared to love.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jerome Taylor is the pastor of Eastgate Baptist Church in Burton, Michigan (2013-present) and the former president of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan (2016-2018). He currently serves Michigan Baptists churches as the chair of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan and Genesee Baptist Association Church Strengthening Teams." Please use this bio with his March Baptist Beacon article.