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A Word for the Week

"All In"--it's a phrase that is used to communicate someone's intent, allegiance, devotion, and/or commitment to a particular situation or assignment. It is the public announcement that everything in my person, my pocket and what I possess be made available and released to the opportunity presented me.

I have heard many different people through the years say those words to me personally or express that intent regarding various opportunities and assignments. (I'm 'all in'--whatever you need, whenever you need it, you can count on me)

The fact is, many say what they mean in the moment, when the idea is new who realistically don't mean what they say. They are "all in" for a few weeks, maybe a few months but after a while some 'thing' else diverts their attention and seemingly good intentions often fade away.

It was only yesterday that I read the words found in Mark 12:32-33. They speak about a scribe's public conversation with Jesus and some believe his conversion. It's a text that leaves us with the appearance of a deeply religious man who knew about God for many years coming to know God on a deeper level.

In the text, this scribe asked Jesus about the greatest commands found in the Law. Being a student of the Law, he knew what it said. He had heard it! He had read it! He had studied it! He had it in his head but the question was/is--had he lived it OR would he begin to? Had this truth ever penetrated his heart?

In response, Jesus speaks truth to this scribe directly & exactly as he had heard it, learned it and studied it. In response, this man agreed with what he heard Jesus say.

(By the way, the word 'confess' means to agree with God.)

The scribe says to Jesus in response, "Well said, Teacher, You have spoken truth for there is one God, and there is no other but He. And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole of burnt offerings and sacrifices."

What is this very religious man saying that could help today?

Two things--

1. We should be grateful to God that He saves the sinner who is religious & the sinner who isn't!

2. Religious practices cannot be or become a substitute for being 'all in' relationally with Jesus.

Human beings must understand that being a good person who does good things for people is not a substitute or even key evidence of being 'all in' for Jesus?

Human beings must come to understand that making some sort of public decision at camp or in church because they don't want to go to hell and suffer is not clear evidence of being 'all in' for Jesus?

Joining a church or being a faithful church member who does it 'all' OR knows it 'all' is NOT a substitute for being 'all in' with Jesus.

As this very religious man points out with his confession of truth--"there is one God and there is no other. And to love Him with ALL your heart, with ALL your understanding (mind), with ALL your soul, and with ALL your strength, and to love one's neighbor as you love yourself IS MORE than everything I do religiously.

Human beings may serve God religiously and not be 'all in'.

Human beings may sing to God or even for God religiously and not be 'all in'.

Human beings may share God's word, even practice parts of it religiously and not be 'all in'.

To follow God in response to what He can do for you is not a true foundation of faith, either. That kind of faith says "let's make a deal" instead of realizing that being 'ALL IN' IS the deal.

To be "all in' means more than desiring that God help us or being devoted to God in certain situations.

It's NOT doing MORE religious work--it's being MORE connected to God and with others relationally.

Being 'all in' with Jesus means surrendering my life (all inclusively) to His will, daily.



Jesus lived this when He demonstrated His love for us as He was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Phil. 2:8) Jesus stayed the course, kept His word and fulfilled God's purpose at extreme personal cost and consequence to Himself on my behalf and yours. He was 'all in' because God so loved the world! JN. 3:16

Are you willing to demonstrate for others consistently what it means to be 'all in' with Jesus on behalf of others? Does your conversation with others reveal your confession of love for God and faith in Christ?

Do you love God with ALL your heart, soul, mind and strength?


Do you love ALL His gifts?

When your ALL is on the altar, it will alter the way you live and love others! Is your personal response to God MORE than just a religious exercise?

Are you 'ALL IN' ?

Why settle for less when God doesn't?

Why would we be satisfied with less when God isn't?

May the Lord bless His continuing work of sanctifying grace in your life!!

Pastor Keith

1 Corinthians 15:58