what's "therefore" there for?
"One of the scribes came up, and when he heard them arguing he realized how skillfully Jesus answered them. He decided to ask Him, 'Which is the first of all the commandments?' Jesus replied: 'This is the first...' " —Mark 12:28-29
The first of all the commandments is: "Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone!" (Mk 12:29; Dt 6:4) Since He is our only Lord, and we must not use our time, energy, and resources for anyone or anything else, "therefore you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength" (Mk 12:30).
The word "therefore" shows the giving of "our all" is based on the acceptance of God as Lord alone. We repeatedly call people to "give their all" in work, finances, and dedication. The response to our pleas is usually apathetic, so we then try to adapt Christianity by making it a halfhearted activity rather than a total commitment. Rather, we should discern that the reason for the refusal to give all is the fact that God is not accepted as Lord alone.
Until we obey the first commandment, we can't obey any others. Commitment to Christ's body must be preceded by commitment to the Lord, the Head of the body the Church (Eph 1:22-23). Until Jesus is Lord of all, He's not Lord at all, and Christian life is not even possible. "You are right in saying, 'He is the One, there is no other than He' " (Mk 12:32). First things first.
Prayer: Jesus, I repent of my sins. I ask You to come into my heart. I accept You as my Lord and Savior. Take over my life.
Promise: "Therefore He is always able to save those who approach God through Him, since He forever lives to make intercession for them." —Heb 7:25
Praise: Praise the risen Jesus, "the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End" (Rv 22:13).
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our leaflet on Accepting Jesus as Lord, Savior, and God or on audio AV 43-1 or video V-43.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 6, 2006
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