“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength (Luke 10:27)…”
“He’s so one track minded!” a woman might say of her husband who doesn’t see the dirty laundry on the floor as he passes by for the third time, lost in his thoughts or his own goals. “Imagine how many hours of practice went into that performance. That girl must eat, drink, and sleep classical music!” we might say of a cellist after an astounding performance. Sometimes we admire people who are so focused. Other times we may be annoyed by their narrow vision because we want them to see the bigger picture. Concentration on one activity can bring tremendous achievement or narrow mindedness and sometimes both.
When it comes to a life of faith, it’s true Jesus wants our full attention on his presence as we go through every portion of our lives. “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3: 17).” It just seems that our focus on God in daily life is supposed to be more like how we experience being enamored when we are in love than it is a rigid discipline. When we are in love, the world seems bigger and brighter. Sweet things taste sweeter. Difficulties feel less significant. Life, though not fully perfect, is perceived to be richer, more vibrant, more dynamic because we share it with the one we love.
The Bible often envisions our relationship to God as the relationship between husband in wife. In Hosea, we are the unfaithful, wandering wife while God is the ever faithful husband. One of the few reasons the whole book of the Song of Songs made it into the Bible is because people saw in the sensual romance of covenant love between husband and wife a deep connection to the pleasure and attachment between God and his people. Finally, when Jesus returns to make the world right again in Revelation, he is the groom, ready to reclaim his bride, the Church!
Jesus does not invite us to focus our lives on him only because he saves us from sin and hell and death, though that is certainly a worthy reason! He invites us to love God fully with “all our heart, mind, soul and strength.” Then, instead of growing more narrow, the world becomes a more beautiful and amazing place, and life becomes a fuller experience.