Scripture Reading:

Matthew 22:34-40

Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

Matthew 22:37

I have had many good teachers, but one was quite remarkable. Students who sat in his classroom knew they were privileged. He spoke quietly but with a depth, precision, and clarity that made listening almost irresistible. I enjoyed learning from this theological and philosophical giant.

Decades later our paths crossed again. I became his pastor, but I was still his student. We also shared the sad experience of needing to visit our spouse at a nursing home. We saw each other frequently on those visits. Occasionally he would also invite me to his apartment for a chat.

We often discussed theological matters, talking about God. But one night I remember him pausing. A thoughtful look lined his face, his wise eyes brightened, and he spoke earnestly: “Harvey, here we sit, talking about God. But, you know, as we talk about God, we must remember that he is right here with us, hearing what we are saying.”

It was a good reminder for me. Discerning and discussing ­basic truths about God may be helpful, even important, but lots of knowledge without love is nothing. God wants us to know him, to love him—with all our heart and soul and mind! That’s the greatest commandment!

I am grateful for my respected and wise friend. He knew much about God—but, better by far, he knew God and loved him, with his heart and soul and mind.

Spirit of God, create in us hearts that love the Lord. Amen.

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