Thursday, 03 April 2014 15:54

What Matters Most

Written by  Trip Healey
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Moses had been given the enormous responsibility of mobilizing a displaced nation, who had been enslaved for four centuries, and then leading them to a place they had been promised but had never seen. Then, for 40 years, God led this group of people through the wilderness as he miraculously provided for their needs and established his covenant with his chosen people. As he communicated his law and his commands through his servant Moses, God often sealed what he wanted them to know with the phrase, “I am the Lord your God.” It was a constant reminder to Israel that their relationship with him was to be the focal point of their obedience to him.

 

Then, as Israel is right on the brink of realizing God’s promises and occupying Canaan, Moses begins transitioning his leadership to his successor, Joshua, as he gathers all of Israel together for his farewell speech. At the beginning of Deuteronomy, Moses recounts God’s faithfulness to his people as he summarizes all that God has done for them as well as the law that God has given to them.

 

Then in chapter 6, it’s as if Moses pauses from his discourse and begins to imagine Israel’s future, knowing he will not be a part of it. He perceives that Israel is on the cusp of experiencing abundant blessings and riches like they’ve never imagined. He senses that Israel’s focus may drift from the eternal to the temporal and that the meaning behind all of God’s laws and commands may be lost.

 

And so he pauses, looks across the hundreds of thousands of people before him, takes a deep breath (or so I imagine), and begins:

 

 

4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”

 

 

This passage of scripture is known as the Jewish Shema, a prayer recited twice daily, which serves as a constant reminder that the Lord, the God of Israel, is the the one true God. Then, for the first time in scripture, Moses makes a pivotal statement about what it means to truly follow God. He says,

 

 

5 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

 

 

Up to this point, Israel knew to worship God, to respect and fear God, but to love God with everything they have implied a personal relationship with God. And that’s the difference. That’s what mattered most. That’s what Moses knew his people needed to fully grasp and understand in order to continue in God’s favor in the future. Then you can almost sense the urgency and fervor in the words that follow.

 

 

6 “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children.”

 

 

The rest of verse seven seems to transcend time and culture as he commands Israel to make their faith a part of their everyday lives by talking about it at home, around the dinner table, while you’re driving in your car, before school each day and before bed each night.

 

Moses seems to be directing these instructions only to parents. But truthfully, the burden falls on anyone who has potential influence in a child’s life, because it’s the children who represent the generation to follow. They need to know what matters most. They need to know that love and relationship bridge the gap between a faith lived out and religion.

 

As Easter approaches once again, and we find ourselves walking through the motions of ritual and tradition, I would challenge all of us to pause, look around, take a deep breath and focus on what matters most.

 

It doesn’t really matter what people know if they don’t know what really matters.

 

As parents and church leaders, we are stewards of the potential influence that we have in the lives of our children and the next generation. It is our responsibility to impress upon them that God desires a relationship with them, that he has created “the way” for that relationship to exist through Jesus Christ, and that true obedience only comes as a by-product of that relationship.

 

What matters most is that they know what matters most.

 

 

Trip Healey is the lead pastor of Ridge Church, a non-denominational church which launched in September 2013 in Wetumpka, AL. They currently meet at the YMCA (200 Red Eagle Dr) at 10:30am every Sunday. To connect with Ridge Church: Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Website: ridgechurch.com, Twitter: @RidgeChurchAL, Facebook: /RidgeChurchAL.

 

 

Last modified on Thursday, 03 April 2014 15:57
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