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Daily Scripture Reflections

Token Sacrifices

Thursday, June 07, 2018 • John Morris
We not only must know the law, but understand the law and apply...

Mark 12:33

And "'to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself,' is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."

When you were growing up, you had to memorize a lot of information in school:  Multiplication tables, algebraic rules, spelling rules, lists of prepositions, conjunctions, proper tenses, etc.  As a young Christian, we memorize the Ten Commandments and hear many of the Old and New Testament stories.  But do we really understand them?  For most of us, even great theologians, it takes a lifetime to understand many of them. 

Today a scribe asks Jesus what is the first or greatest of all the commandments.  Jesus gives him an answer which the scribe replies that we should love God with everything in us and, with importance, adds that this love is more important that sacrifices and burnt offerings.  Jesus hears this and knows that this scribe not only KNOWS the law but UNDERSTANDS the law.  No one asked him any more questions because these same people were the ones that make sacrifices and burnt offerings.  Those that made the sacrifices and burnt offerings understood the law, but didn't put into practice the meaning and depth of what they were doing.  It's like a person reading the lines of a play, but what makes a great actor is they understand the depth of the script and character, and put it into practice. 

We are called to understand and LIVE the law.  It is one thing to know the law, to treat people with respect love dignity, etc., but do we do it?  Are we going to church weekly for an hour to fulfill our Sunday "obligation" and making our token gifts to God?  Or do we love God with our whole heart in all we do?   Do we give all we can to our neighbor, the stranger, the downtrodden?  As Christians we are called to do everything in our power to love God and our fellow man.  God, give us the strength to stretch our knowledge and love for you and one another. 


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