I’m sure Valentine’s Day is celebrated in many workplaces, in one-way or another. This can be quite fun, I’m sure, though I expect it could get messy, too. But, I don’t think giving cards, flowers, and candy quite gets what it means for us to love our neighbors as ourselves at work. If we are going to express our love of God by loving the neighbors in our workplaces, we need to do more than is traditional on Valentine’s Day.
When Jesus was asked by a Jewish theologian which was the greatest commandment of all, he began by quoting a crucial passage from the Jewish law: “‘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.’” (Mark 12:29-30, based on Deuteronomy 6:4-5).
But then Jesus added something unexpected, something extra, but not really extra at all.
Seeds need three conditions to grow: light, nutrients and water. In Jesus’ Parable of the Sower, there are plenty of seeds and more than enough sunlight. In today’s text, the question is whether there is sufficient soil and adequate moisture for the seed to flourish. And, soil and moisture seem to be interrelated.
Yesterday, we began to consider how we can love God with all of our strength in our daily work. We were reminded that God created our bodies – gave us strength – so that we might work. When we offer our bodies to God through our work, he is worshiped and loved.
In my last few Life for Leaders devotions, I’ve been working with you on how we can love God at work with all of our heart, soul, and mind. Today, we get to the last of the four aspects of love for God. According to Jesus, who quotes from Deuteronomy 6:5, we are to love God with all of our “strength.” We are to do this in every part of life, including our daily work.
In yesterday’s Life for Leaders devotion, we began considering the call of Jesus to love God “with all our mind.” We love God, not only through our choices, actions, and feelings, but also through our thoughts. We do this, in part, by thinking about God, considering his excellence, meditating upon his beauty, considering his justice, and concentrating on his truth. In light of this truth, we learn to think in ways that honor God wherever we are, including our workplace.
It’s not hard for us to relate to loving God with all our heart, even in the biblical sense of thoughtful choices as we exercise our will to do what honors the Lord. And it’s not hard for us to conceive of loving God with all our soul, with all of our inner being, including our emotions. But loving God with all our mind may, at first, seem odd. We wonder what it means to love God with our mind.
In yesterday’s Life for Leaders devotion, we began to consider how we can love the Lord with all our soul in and through our work. We focused mainly on the biblical meaning of “soul” (psyche in Greek; nefesh in Hebrew), which can refer to a living being, the life force that animates us, or the emotions at the core of our inner life.
So, then, how can we love God with all our soul at work?
In the last two Life for Leaders devotions, we were reflecting on how we can love God with all of our heart, that is, with our thoughtful choices, our decisions, and our will. Today, we move on to consider how we might love God with all our soul in and through our daily work.
How can we love God with all of our heart through our work? Yesterday, I began to answer to this question by focusing on what it means to love God with our heart. As you may recall, in the biblical understanding of persons, the heart was the center of the will rather than the emotions. Loving God with all our heart means choosing to obey and honor God above all else.