We will never turn the world upside down until we first allow Jesus to turn us inside out. Healthy churches are led by healthy pastors who love God with all of their hearts, souls, minds, and strength.
The Great Commandment is Jesus’ bottom-line summary of the Ten Commandments as well as the whole of Scripture. And just in case we didn’t understand “greatest” (megas)– Jesus doubles the impact by adding “most important/first” (protos). Faithful Jews not only knew the Great Commandment (Shema), they also quoted it twice a day and wrote it on their doorposts (mezuzahs). Some even put it in a box and tied it on their foreheads (phylacteries), yet they came short of writing it on their hearts, as God desired (Jer 31:31; Heb 8:10).
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength…this is the greatest and most important command (Deut 6:5; Matt 22:37-38; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27).
This is one of four posts in which we are unwrapping the implications of the Great Commandment on the pastor’s life. Why? Because a Great Commandment life is essential to a Great Commission ministry.
Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.”
God gave each person a physical heart, and each Christian a spiritual heart, both of which are described by the Greek word (kardia) or Hebrew word (lebab). The term “kardia” may be referring to our thoughts or feelings or will – depending on the context. Although, sometimes the “heart” has a narrower meaning in Scripture. In the Great Commandment it describes the comprehensive nature of our covenant with God. God writes His “covenant” on our hearts: “I will put My laws into their minds and write them on their hearts…” (Jer 31:33; Heb 8:10).
A SPIRITUAL EKG
This month I will celebrate my fiftieth birthday with a comprehensive check-up. My doctor will check first on the condition of my heart with his stethoscope, which is the most important (and least invasive) part. If he sees something troubling about my heart, the rest of the check-up gets put on hold because my heart is essential to my health.
The Great Commandment is our Great Physician’s comprehensive check-up for the pastor’s heart, as well as his soul, mind, and body. The “most important commandment” in the Bible is also the most important question in our lives – “Do I love Jesus with all of my heart?” If not, how can one rekindle that love today?
Let’s take a brief EKG to examine our spiritual hearts. There are at least three potential diagnoses:
Your heart is dead and needs a transplant
Pastors Today assumes most of its readers are already saved, but lest we forget, our hearts were as dead and “desperately wicked” (Jer 17:9) as any other Christian’s before their spiritual transplant.
Throw off all the transgressions you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit…I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh (Ezek 18:31; 36:26).
Your heart is alive, but your heartbeat is weak
Solomon called our hearts “a wellspring of life” (Prov 4:23); however, Jesus reminds us that our hearts can also be a cesspool of death (Mark 7:21-22; Matt 15;19). Perhaps like the Ephesians, you have abandoned your first love (Rev 2:4). You know you are saved, but, in all honesty, you are spiritually stalled. You can choose today to turn it around (repent) or just keep pastoring on life-support.
For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him (2 Chron. 16:9).
Your heart is fully alive and growing
A key word in this key commandment is “all.” The Shema invites introspection by asking, “Are you an ALL-IN?” I know that many of you walk with God consistently and your love for God is growing…fantastic! That is God’s plan for every pastor, leader, and member.
Regardless of your personal diagnosis, the universal prognosis is simple:
Give me an undivided mind/heart, that I may fear Your name. I will praise You, Lord my God, with all my heart (Psalm 86:11).
If you need to talk to someone about the condition of your heart, please contact me at email@example.com. Next week we will look at our souls as they relate to our emotional health.