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.
Last week, we began an in-depth examination of Mark 12:29-31. As you may recall, this passage records the response of Jesus to a question from a Jewish legal scholar. He asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” (12:28). Jesus responded by quoting Scripture, beginning with Deuteronomy 6:4-5. This momentous Old Testament passage begins with the affirmation of God’s unique identity. Then it calls us to respond to God by loving God with all that we are. According to Jesus, we are to love God with heart, soul, mind, and strength.
In this week’s devotions, I want to consider with you how we might love God this way at work.
We have been looking at Jesus’ seminal Parable of the Sower in the context of our work as leaders. In my last reflection, I noted that a Christian vision of human leadership is one where that leadership originates as a gift from outside us. More particularly, truly human leadership is a vocation. Someone else – God – calls us to our work and provides us the necessary gifting to carry out that work. In the language of Jesus’ parable, there is “a sower (who) went out to sow (seed).” (Mark 4:3)
Today’s text explores our response.
Christians sometimes get confused about how to respond to God’s commandments. Some of us think, for example, that all of the commandments of Scripture are no longer relevant for us since we are saved by God’s grace through Christ. Others of us pay lip service to salvation by grace, but we live as if we have to earn God’s love through obedience to his commandments. By loving God, we believe, we can get God to love us in return.
If we want to love someone well, then we need to know that person well. The better we know someone, the better we will be able to love him or her.
So it is with God. If we are to love God, then we need to know God.
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.