“And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” (Mark 12: 33)
In Jesus’s day, burnt offerings were a way to receive heaven’s promises, an expression of faith, and an indication of purity and goodness. It was an aspect of worship and respect for the Almighty. Today, we may not be burning animals as a sign of devotion and a promise of God’s approval, but we have still carried this notion of sacrifice into the modern age.
We may find ourselves feeling we must give up all that we love, things that we feel are necessary for a good life, or a sense of true freedom and joy in order to be devoted to God and His intention. We sometimes feel that poverty and deprivation, constant toil and suffering, are needed in order to be pure and beloved.
But Jesus clearly said that the necessary thing had nothing to do with giving up a happy and active life or our dignity or the things that are honestly dear to us. We simply have to sacrifice anything that does not express love toward another or toward God and His ideal, goodness and Truth. This is the way of salvation and the sacrifice required is not a ritual, but comes through individualized prayer and new understanding.
Jesus, who so well knew his Father-Mother, admonished us that our sacrifice was relinquishing a belief that something good must die in order for us to live. Instead, it was about going forth in the true sense of Life, that which is loving, from the heart, because we know that our God is not punishing and demanding, but is the very substance and activity of perfect Love.
This is today’s e-inspire. These messages are based on passages from the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy. These books are our “pastor” in Christian Science. Come back every Tuesday and Thursday for fresh inspiration. Or get a free subscription to receive an inspirational message like this one every morning directly to your inbox by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org. A downloadable compilation of categorized messages is also available by request.