Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5 HCSB
In the 1990s, a woman walked into a Kansas City Baskin Robbins store to buy an ice cream cone. She’d just placed her order when another customer walked in behind her. She turned and found herself face to face with Paul Newman. His blue eyes made her knees buckle, and her pulse filled her ears. Wordlessly, she paid for her cone and left. She stepped outside the store, took a deep breath, and realized she didn’t have her ice cream. She turned to go back in and get it when she met Paul Newman coming out.
“Are you looking for your ice cream cone?” he asked. She was still too awed to speak, so she just nodded her head. He smiled. “You put it in your purse with your change.”
When was the last time you allowed God’s presence to totally fluster you like that? When was the last time that His face caused you to forget everything else – the to-do list, the tension at work … the ice cream cone? God wants us to love him like that, with all our heart.
But he wants our soul’s love, too. In Hebrew, the word “soul” can be translated “appetite.” He wants us to crave him daily. It also carries the connotation of “will or choice.” He want us to decide to follow him, even when our hearts aren’t fluttering. Because God knows that all of love isn’t a heady emotion.
And that brings us to strength. He wants us to love Him with my actions, regardless of what I’m feeling. He wants me to use my soul to choose to sweat for Him, to volunteer with the kids at church, to share Christ with a friend when I’d rather be silent, to give a ride to a needy woman whose car is broken down. None of those things may cause my heart to sing, but they express my passionate love for my God none the less.
God wants my emotions. He wants me to be utterly in awe of Him. But emotions are flighty things, so He wants my will, too, so that I’ll choose to serve him even when I feel depressed. And he wants my strength, my hands and feet, my time, my actions. He wants all of me.
I have to confess that everything I’ve written today comes out of a sermon my husband preached last week at a church in Oklahoma. They subsequently called him to be their new pastor. We are so excited about this move and about all God has for us there. But this week, I have been overwhelmed with painting and packing and everything it takes to sell this house and transplant our lives there. I am exhausted and fresh out of creativity, so I snuggled up to him this morning and asked for permission to just put his words here. He gave it. He’s a good guy, that man I married. He loves His God passionately. May I do so too, even buried under boxes and bubble wrap.