Sometimes I bring my dog, Piper, with me to the church building. He’s not much trouble and he really enjoys it. Plus, he never fails to let me know if we’re no longer alone in the building. It would be nice to know if, for example, an axe murderer had come in to get us. So far that hasn’t happened, I am happy to report.
There are several things he does that are very entertaining as I go about my pastor-y business. Probably my favorite is putting his two front paws on the chair of my arm and staring at me because he’s desperate to climb up in my lap. It’s all he needs in his life. Once he has that moment of snuggling and ear-scratching, he seems to think, he can get on with his life of doing dog things. Sniffing, napping, etc, etc.
It’s a simple example, really. He loves me so much. He understands on some basic instinctual level that the food, love, play, comfort he has comes from my wife and I. Plus, I take him on the long walks each evening that he desperately loves. Sometimes I think he “gets it” more than I do.
Near the end of the 22nd chapter of Matthew, someone famously asked Jesus about which commandment was the greatest. Do you remember what he said? He told him, “love the Lord Your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”1
Folks, this is so very important! I often find myself so worried and upset that many or even most of our churches have become little more than Jesus-liking social clubs. Churches are slipping away from the truth and becoming like the world because there is no root to them. They like Jesus enough to come and “do” church as long as football isn’t on.
But church isn’t what’ we do. It is who we are. Jesus cannot be a once-a-week deal. It needs to be an ongoing desperation for Him. Every day. Every hour. Every breath.
I must ask: have we lost our passion for Jesus? In the midst of all this wealth and comfort have we forgotten that every scrap of food that crosses our lips is a gift? Are we failing in our devotion?
Piper has it right. Let us yearn to walk with Him. Let us find our desperation to spend each moment loving Him. It is the greatest commandment. It is, in fact, the very meaning and purpose of our lives.
- Matthew 22:36-40