Mark 12:28-30 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the first of all?" Jesus answered, "The first is, Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.'
Words are important things, mot because they are big, but little things do make a difference. For example, when we talk of stewardship, we don’t speak of a collection, but of an offering. What’s the difference? A small boy described it this way - When you feed the dog scraps from the table, that’s a collection, but when you feed the dog a choice steak, that’s an offering. This is why in our service, we don’t have a collection, but we have an offering – for we desire to give God our very best, and not merely what’s leftover.
While our hearts desire to give God our very best, sometimes, we run into difficulty – for in the web of life, with so many things requiring our attention – sometimes God gets neglected, not because we don’t care – but so many other things scream for attention, and we have come to know that God is patient, and so often all we have for God, is what is leftover, after everything else that needs to be done is done.
We feel good that we did have time for God, because sometimes it seems like there is so much that needs to be done, that there will be no time left. And since God is gracious and merciful, He’ll understand, or so we tell ourselves. We say that because there is that still small voice, our conscience, and a feeling of guilt, but we’re not quite certain why.
The answer is in our text – what is the first of all the commandments? The Lord our God is one Lord, you shall love the Lord your God with all your hear, and with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.
Let me put it another way, the question is not – what do we have leftover for God, after everything else – but – what do he have leftover, after we have given everything to God?
When Jesus gave this answer regarding the first of all commandments, he answered in such a way, that there is nothing left, and no part reserved, but that we love God with all of our all.
That’s why we feel guilty sometimes, because we know that God is not coming first, he is not getting an offering, just a collection of leftovers. We know God deserves better. After all, God gave his son to suffer and die to save us, while we were yet sinners – and by his death and resurrection, he offers to us the forgiveness of sins, peace, and eternal life. God didn’t hold back anything, but he have us his all.
But the law cannot help us – for it will not change us – we need the promise. And here is the promise – Matthew 6:33
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.
You see, while it may sometimes seem like there would be nothing left after we have given everything to God – quite the opposite is true – for when we give everything to God, we He comes first in all things – we have grace and every blessing, and we lack no good thing.
For God gives us each day our daily bread, and not just to us, but God gives graciously to both the wicked and the righteous – we pray, that we might receive these daily gifts of grace with thanksgiving, and give God the worship and praise he so richly deserves for all that he has done for us.