February 27, 2023

Check back each Monday for a short devotional with Chaplain Art Pace to help you start the week off well. 

And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

Mark 12:33

We are now in the 40 day period before Easter that many refer to as Lent. During this time, many Christians choose to fast by giving something up that they enjoy. Some give up eating meat, while others give up chocolate, coffee, other such food stuffs. As noble as that is, it is not necessarily what God desires of us.

When a Jewish scribe approached Jesus and asked him what is the most important commandment, Jesus says it is to love God and love our neighbors. Jesus then elaborates on that by explaining that we are to love God with everything we have, and we need to love those around us at least as much as we love ourselves. He then declares that such actions mean more to God than any temporary sacrifices we make on his behalf regardless of how large they are.

God is not impressed just with what we sacrifice. Jesus wants us to understand that when we fast or give something worldly up, we need to replace it with something spiritual. God is impressed with our zealous desire to love Him more and to show our love for our neighbors.

This Lent, let us not ask each other what we are giving up. Instead, let us ask each other what we are doing to fulfill what Jesus says are the most important commandments.

What are you doing to deepen your walk with Jesus Christ? What are you doing to demonstrate your care for others?

Great God, my Father, I truly love you. Help me to desire you above all, and show me who needs me to come alongside them this week. Amen.