Today's verse: Mark 12:29-30
"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.'"
A teacher of the law had just asked Jesus which of the commandments was the most important. The verse above was Jesus' answer. Definitely a clear and direct one. Around the circle in Agape today we tried to answer two additional questions: what does it mean to love the Lord with everything that we are, and why would we even want to do that? One of the answers that surfaced brought us back to the parable of the tenants at the beginning of Mark 12.
The parable describes God as a vineyard owner who is gracious and merciful beyond reason. Some might even describe his character as naive, foolish, or ignorant. Certainly, God's response to the evil tenants in the parable was probably very different from what ours might have been, as we often look for opportunities to institute justice or to "make things right." in our lives and in this world. Instead, the vineyard owner sends his only son, revealing his desire to pursue us to the point of death, to the point of divine sacrifice.
This God is the one that desires our hearts. And once we offer that heart to him, he starts the work of healing it. He takes our heart, our soul, our mind, and our strength and refines them all. Do you want to be in relationship with a God who sees the heart, offers his son, and only desires intimacy with us? Come as you are. At Agape, that's what we're trying to do.