Sermon Illustrations
Posted by Douglas on Jul 13, 2007

Last week I spent a night in the emergency room at Franklin Memorial Hospital (Farmington, ME). Turns out I have gallstones. The doctor discussed my options with me, considering that I wanted to finish out my summer of camp ministry before having surgery. My main issue is, I need to spend the summer on a very low-fat diet.

In other words, no camp food.

I find, though, that people tend to misunderstand what I mean when I tell them I'm on a low-fat diet. When people think "low-fat diet," they think of someone trying to lose weight or lower cholesterol. And when that's the purpose of your diet, it's okay if you splurge once in awhile. If you eat healthy all week, you could have pizza for one meal, and then go back to eating healthy.

That is not the case with me. I could eat fifty healthy meals in a row, then have one fatty meal, and regardless of how healthy I ate at the other fifty meals, that one fatty meal would put me back in the hospital.

It's a very all-or-nothing approach to dieting.

I was thinking about that in relation to Matthew 22:37, where Jesus says that the most important commandment is to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."

This, like my diet, is a very all-or-nothing sort of thing. It's not something we play around with. We don't say "I'm going to give God my all 90% of the time, and then I'll 'splurge,' and live for me for the other 10%."

It doesn't work that way; playing that kind of game with God is very dangerous; it results in a very unhealthy spiritual life. Jesus told us that we can't serve two masters, because we will either love one and hate the other, or vice-versa.

God doesn't want us to play games with Him, and really, when you think about it, He deserves our whole-hearted devotion, because of His great goodness, His great love for us, and His sacrifice at Calvary. He doesn't deserve the kind of games we often try to play when we serve and love Him half-heartedly.

If God has loved us so much, how could we love Him less?

Popular tags
Christian life, Jesus, character, integrity, love, trouble, hiking, mountains, children, heart, perseverance, 1 Peter 2:1, sermon on the mount, faithfulness, Philippians 4:8, heaven, music, the church, contentment, scripture, 1 Peter 2:4, God's will, foundation, salvation, human nature, hope, faith, humility, devotion, sin, gifts, Romans 12:2, spiritual discipline, 2 Corinthians 3:18, renewal, art, servanthood, strength, Hebrews 12:2, age groups, stability, teaching, obedience, 1 John 5:3, Titus 2:11, death, commandments, selfishness, deceit, Christmas, Colossians 4:6, responsibility, listening, interpretation, justice, behavior, materialism, Galatians 6:1, self-control, Philippians 4:11, 2 Peter 1:5, envy, blessings, Psalms 103:13, Philippians 2:3, creation, excellence, beauty, Genesis 2:7, Deuteronomy 32:4, John 10:1, Matthew 6:34, 1 Peter 2:2, preaching, Proverbs 25:8, discipleship, John 14:3, Psalms 1:1, Romans 8:24, Ecclesiastes 1:4, Matthew 15:18, voice, James 1:19, peace, John 11:35, Luke 12:34, Christ's return, counsel, cooperation, patience, 1 Peter 3:3, Ecclesiastes 7:2, Jeremiah 17:9, the good shepherd, Hebrews 12:15, Psalms 95:8, Proverbs 3:5, resurrection, Luke 12:32, Revelation 22:20, 1 Corinthians 15:1, Micah 6:8, 1 Peter 1:7, John 14:21, anger, public speaking, trust, grief, treasure, the gospel, delayed gratification, James 5:5, Galatians 3:19, math, suffering, bitterness, John 16:33, Matthew 18:3, priorities, 2 Corinthians 5:20, the law, logic, 1 Peter 1:6, work, 1 John 4:19, Titus 2:13, 1 Corinthians 15:30, Psalms 51:7, John 14:6, Philippians 2:12, 1 Corinthians 12:22, Isaiah 35:4, John 14:24, James 1:23, Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 7:12, Colossians 1:15, John 10:10, danger, Titus 3:4, Colossians 1:16, Philippians 1:6, Matthew 5:37, body of Christ, Matthew 20:26, John 5:36, James 1:5, golden rule, 1 Peter 1:18, Proverbs 25:13, truth, 2 Corinthians 9:6, Philippians 2:1, ambassadors, wisdom, Philippians 4:9, kindness, context, 1 Peter 1:17, 1 Peter 2:19, Psalms 95:7, cleansing, culture, unity, Philippians 2:9, walking the talk, James 1:2, mind, imitating, Proverbs 25:16, 1 Peter 1:23, 1 Peter 2:21, Psalms 29:3, Leviticus 19:32, James 1:17, Colossians 3:12, Ecclesiastes 3:11, Matthew 22:37, Proverbs 25:17, Psalms 73:18, Galatians 6:2, Luke 2:10, Psalms 29:9, respect, Numbers 32:23, Psalms 40:8, 1 Peter 2:12, 2 Timothy 4:3, Psalms 84:10, Psalms 73:2, family, Incarnation, glory, John 4:34, Ecclesiastes 4:9, John 8:34, Philippians 4:1, Luke 14:12, gentleness, Matthew 5:36, grace, Epiphany, Romans 14:6, fellowship, Ephesians 2:19, power, Philippians 3:20, honor, diligence, Isaiah 40:4, judgment, Titus 3:5, regeneration, Galatians 6:5, Matthew 6:26, Psalms 66:18, 1 Peter 2:11, meekness, 1 Corinthians 13:7, Psalms 17:8, 1 Peter 2:6, John 1:23, Matthew 28:19, 1 Peter 2:22, Matthew 11:30, prayer, light, sojourners, John 13:15, Matthew 6:25, Hebrews 10:24, attention, disappointment, Matthew 15:11, Matthew 10:5, comparisons