When my two older children, Sophie and Toby, were younger, they loved to play card games. I taught them how to play Uno, Rummy, Old Maid, and every kid's favorite: Go Fish.
One afternoon as we were playing the game, I began to notice a trend with my son, Toby. As the rules state: you ask the person to your right for cards matching a particular number or face. If they have those cards, they give you the cards in their hand of that particular number or face - pretty simple rules!
When I asked my son for a particular numbered card, he would hand me a card - as the rules state. When he asked me for cards, I noticed that he would accept the cards, make a smirk to his sister, and look at her out of the side of his eye. I didn't really think much of the look when I saw him make it. Most kids his age cause adults to scratch their heads a lot with their looks and actions.
When it came back around to his turn, he asked again for another numbered card and I handed him all the cards in my hand that matched, which sparked more giggling and goofy grins.
My questioning nature got the better of me and I stopped the game right where it was and asked him, "Toby, why are you giggling every time I hand you cards, and what's so funny about this game?"
He looked at me, still smirking, and with a giggle, he said, "Every time I ask for cards you give me more than one. You don't know how to play."
At this point, my sage, fatherly wisdom was brought forth, and I told him that the rules stated that you were to give all the cards with the requested numbers on them, not just one. The look on his face told me that he quickly realized that he had been the one playing the game wrong all along.
I reminded him that all means all.
"You're not playing the game correctly if you're not playing it by the rules, son," I reminded him.
Speaking of rules, or commands, Jesus was once asked by a lawyer what He believed was the most important commandment.
Jesus's answer was the same that probably most Jewish people would have given, "...you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.' The second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' No other commandment is greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31 NLT)
All means all.
Jesus is telling us that following him is not about keeping every single law, it's impossible for us to do anyway. Jesus is telling us that love is the compulsion of the law. The law simply points us to our need for a Savior to fulfill the law for us. He's teaching us that we can't keep the law because we're human - that's what He does!
But He's also teaching us that we must love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Everything we are is all because of Him, and in return, we give to and serve Him with everything we've got.
He didn't ever hold anything back from us. In fact, God became a man so that we could have life eternally even though we didn't deserve it, and had no way to earn it. Jesus is the fulfillment of the law - the law that we could never fulfill on our own.
And how much of the law did Jesus fulfill? All of it.
And how much of ourselves are we to give to Him? All of us.
Listen to "Love the Lord" by Lincoln Brewster.
-- Jeremy DeGroot is Lead Pastor at FBC Siloam Springs, a husband, daddy, and musician. You can contact him via email at [email protected] or reach out on Facebook.