January 24, 2017 • Life for Leaders
“The most important [commandment],” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
In the days before his crucifixion, Jesus was in the courts of the Temple in Jerusalem, teaching the people. One of the Jewish religious teachers asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” (12:28). This kind of question was common among Jewish theologians and Jesus was ready to answer it. He did so, at first, by quoting a passage from the book of Deuteronomy, one of the most well known biblical passages to the Jewish people. “‘The most important one,’ answered Jesus, is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength’” (12:29-30; see Deut 6:4-5).
Deuteronomy 6:4 begins with a simple imperative, “Hear!” The Hebrew word translated here is shema’. It means “Hear!” or “Listen!” (You will often hear people refer to this passage in Deuteronomy as the Shema.) In contemporary American English, we might say, “Hey, listen up!” Shema is a call to pay attention, to hear something important, something that makes all the difference in the world.
If we are to love God at work, and, for that matter, if we are to love God in any context of our lives, we need first to listen. Like the Israelites, we need to hear what God says to us about himself and about ourselves. We need to pay attention to who God has revealed himself to be and who we are as God’s creatures, made in his image for his particular purposes.
These days, many people feel the freedom to design their own religion according to their personal feelings, beliefs, and preferences. They assume that they can love the Lord in any way that suits them. Biblical faith, on the contrary, begins with God’s truth, God’s revelation, God’s Word that we need to hear, and then believe, and then embrace, and then embody, and then enact.
Are you willing to hear God’s Word as a starting point for how to love God completely at work? Will you allow the Lord to speak to you through Scripture, through his Spirit, and through the community of his people?
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
So, are you willing to hear God’s Word as a starting point for how to love God completely at work? Are you committed to letting Scripture teach you, inspire you, and form you?
Have there been times in your life when you have sensed God saying to you, “Listen!”? You may not have heard God’s voice audibly, but you knew that God was speaking to you in your heart. What did you hear? What did you do in response?
Gracious God, thank you for calling to us through Scripture, for calling to us to “Hear!”
Lord, we need to hear from you. We need to hear what you reveal about yourself. We need to hear from you who we are and how we’re meant to live.
So, dear Lord, we are grateful for the invitation to “Hear!” Help us to listen well to you as you speak to us, so that we might know you truly and love you completely, even in our work. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online Bible commentary: From Single Mentorship to Communal Mentorship
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.