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Be careful with what you know!
Jessie’s Corner
Becky Gillette
Becky Gillette

Jesus said, “The first in importance is ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.” – Mark 12:29-31 (The Message)

Have you ever noticed that when we are most certain of our information, we are often the most off base? My car died in front of a store, several years ago. This shouldn’t have been a problem. I was living in the same town as my dad who knew exactly what a car might need to get started again. I told him where I was and, while he seemed a bit surprised at what I told him, he said he would be right there. I waited and waited and finally called him back. It turned out that I was not in front of the store I thought I was. In fact, I was several blocks away, in front of a totally different store.

This passage from Mark occurs when the Pharisees are questioning Jesus. They were asking him questions about taxation – if it was lawful or not. Jesus responded with, “give Caesar what is his and give God what is his.” (Mark 12:17) They asked about a hypothetical woman who had been married to several husbands. Which one would be her husband in heaven? Jesus responded, “One, you don’t know your Bibles; two, you don’t know how God works.” (Mark 12:24)

Finally, one brave religious scholar comes up to ask which of the commandments is the most important. This scripture is the answer Jesus gave. Time and time again, Jesus talks about the importance of loving God and loving people. Time and time again, the religious leaders of the day stressed following rules! They had been well trained in the laws of their professions and they knew their stuff!

Lists are wonderful inventions. They help remind us of what we need to get done. They help us to fix lawn mowers or to cook up meals for the family. They help remind us of when it’s time to pay the water bill or to return the books to the library. When it comes to loving God and others, however, lists of rules can get in the way.  

The best way to love God and to love others is to pay attention to those we’re with. Loving God may be as simple as taking him fishing. Getting out on a quiet pond with our line in the water and plenty of fish wanting our bait, can be a good time to just be in the presence of God. Loving someone else may be just sitting quietly with them while they wrestle through a problem. We can’t predict what will be needed so a list of rules won’t be much help. Paying attention will be much more useful!

Becky Gillette is a former teacher, newspaper reporter, and preacher who seeks to take an original approach to life’s lessons. She has recently published her first book, “Jessie’s Corner: Something To Think About,” which is now available for purchase. Based on several lesser-known scriptures from the Bible, this is a collection of articles which she wrote for a weekly newspaper.