“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 12:30-31 (NIV)
In Jesus’ day, the religious leaders had expanded the Ten Commandments to over 600 rules and regulations, as if ten were not enough! Little wonder there was such confusion in their religion as to which was the most important. But Jesus narrowed their focus to the one thing that would change everything when He was asked which commandment was the most important. He told them it was loving God and loving others. In other words, the bullseye they should have aimed at was a relationship target. In His response, Jesus gave us four “alls” if we are to hit the relationship target. Look at the passage again. We call it the Great Commandment.
“‘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 12:30-31NIV)
Jesus gave us the power of a focused relationship in this passage. Hitting the bullseye of a focused relationship means being all there! Being all there involves:
- My affections: “All my heart…”
- My emotions: “All my soul…”
- My intellect: “All my mind…”
- My actions: “All my strength…”
These are the four rings on the target of a focused relationship. If they are missing, our relationships will never experience the kind of love and fulfillment God intended. We will settle for less than God’s best if we neglect them. Before we dig deeper into these four rings of the relationship target, ask yourself how divided your affections are in your most important relationships. How distracted is your mind? Are you hiding your feelings in that relationship? What specific actions have you put off that you know you should be doing? The truth of the matter is, we cannot multi-task our relationships and expect them to grow. Are you all there when it comes to your relationships? Or do you ever find yourself engaging others while at the same time trying to check your smart phone? When we do that, we are devaluing the relationship. We lose focus on what is more important or better, who is the most important. As we examine these four rings of a focused relationship this week, try this – turn off your smart phone and look into the eyes of those with whom you are speaking. Give them your full attention and see what happens.