Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ - Matthew 22: 37-39, New Living Translation
My brother and I taught my parents how to play poker last Thanksgiving. Not that my brother and I are any good at it but we were kinda chilling and we’re a card playing family so we thought why not. Turns out my mother is quite the card shark. She tries to look all innocent and confused. She’ll say, “Is this a good hand?” She says it with a smile while she cuts your heart out and takes all your chips.
While attending a retreat earlier this year, I heard one of the speakers use the analogy of poker chips. He talked about how some people will play and leave a couple of chips in their pocket just so they don’t walk away with nothing. In poker, this is not a bad idea. In life, you’re missing the point if you hold some back.
I think that was the point of what Jesus was saying here. To remind you of the story here, the religious types were questioning Jesus, wanting to try and catch him in an awkward moment to test him. So they asked what the most important commandment was. These verses in Matthew were Jesus’ reply. This is a matter of investment I think He was saying.
Notice Jesus says love with all; all your heart, soul and mind. All. Everything you got. Everything you are. Give until it hurts then give some more. Why would we hold back from God? Why wouldn’t we give all? What are we waiting for? What are we afraid of? He’s not going to hurt you. After all, He gave all for us. He gives all for us. I’m not saying our lives will be easy when we give all. Life is sometimes difficult and there will be pain. Look at Job, for goodness sake. But he didn’t waver. Job gave all and still worshipped God, even when all was taken.
Jesus loved so much that He gave His life, freely poured Himself out as the ultimate expression of Love. How could we think to give less?
This sense of giving should also be true of our relationships with other people. Jesus didn’t stop with just love God with all you got, He included everybody else too. Investing in other people hurts at times and it’s risky, let’s be honest. You will be hurt by others. But look at the reward. I promise you this. If we give to others, all we have in love, we will be rewarded. If in no other way, it’s good for your soul. Think about the last time you poured yourself out for someone. Didn’t that feel good? Didn’t that make you smile and give you that warm feeling? That was God’s way of saying ‘thank you’.
So, what are you holding back from those in your life? More importantly, what are you holding back from Jesus? Don’t keep that chip in your pocket. In life, in Love, in Him you can’t cash that in later. It’s now or never. All in.