Monday, March 12, 2012

It's that little word ALL

"You shall love the LORD with ALL your heart, with ALL your soul, with ALL your mind, and with ALL your strength".

All is just such a little word. How could three little letters encompass everything? That word just leaps off the page for me. When I give my all to anything I throw myself headlong into whatever the all is. I stay single focused.

I remember when our kids were young I discovered the author Jeanette Oke. She wrote the book series Love Comes Softly. When that book first came out I bought it and read it and then read it again. I became so engrossed in her book that I paid little attention to anything else going around me. I would forget to make dinner, or read to my children. I even let the chores go by the wayside. I was so single focused that nothing else registered for me. Many books later I realized that my life was a tad out of balance! I knew I had to scale back my reading addiction. I forced myself to leave the books alone till the chores were done, dinner was in the oven and the children had mommy time. Then, I would pick up my current book to read.

Jesus tells us that what it means to love God with our ALL means to stay single focused. This was so radical that he even wanted the followers to leave their dead parents. Now I have to admit, that little exchange with the man in Luke 9 had always bothered me. My thinking went something like this. "You mean I just have to let my parents body rot in the house because I can't even give them a proper burial?" So, a little history lesson is in order.

Back in Jesus' life when a father died burial took place in two parts. When a father died the oldest son would put his father's body in a casket and then in a tomb. For the first seven days the entire family would sit "shiva" It was the morning period. They would not be out and about. They would spend the 7 days mourning for their father. When the seven days were up they left the body in the tomb to decompose which took about a year. When the year was up they would take what was left of the body out of the casket and put the remains in an ossuary which was a box for the bones. The box would then be buried for good.

Scholars think the man Jesus talks to in Luke chapter 9 is in the one year waiting period. If it had been during the first 7 days when the family was sitting shiva he would not have been out so they think it was after the first burial and before the second burial. Now that makes sense to me. We can't lose the point though. Jesus wants this man to just get up and follow him. Listen to what he says.

As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Luke 9:57-62 (ESV)

Jesus equates loving God with everything we are and hope to be to following Jesus. It's that ALL he wants. For a Jewish man he says to leave his dead father and go proclaim the Kingdom. To a woman in the 21st century he also says to give ALL. Think about that for your life and see what you can come up with.

Till next time.

In Christ Alone,


Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

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