Relaymedia

With All Your Mind

( [email protected] ) Apr 16, 2014 06:57 PM EDT
God said to the high and low IQs alike, "You shall love me with all your mind." Nobody, or rather, no mind is exempt. In theory our first thoughts, like our first fruits, belong to God. In practice, however, holy thinking and holy learning are often wholly absent amongst our everyday priorities and practices.

"And He said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.'" - Matthew 22:37-38

God said to the high and low IQs alike, "You shall love me with all your mind." Nobody, or rather, no mind is exempt. In theory our first thoughts, like our first fruits, belong to God. In practice, however, holy thinking and holy learning are often wholly absent amongst our everyday priorities and practices.

Thomas à Kempis once wrote, "God will not ask us what books we have read, but what deeds we have done." And he's right: we can't read our way into heaven; but we can and should read along the way. An open book, for instance, alongside an open mind and an open heart is an excellent way to get wisdom - which, "if you do not forsake her... she will keep you; and [if you] love her... she will guard you." But if you don't think wisdom can be found amongst worthwhile books, then perhaps you've never read one.

Sacred reading isn't the only way to love the Lord with your entire mind, but it is an essential way. In fact, it's a doorway. It introduces us to better thinking and new thoughts (or old ones we need to re-remember). The Bible says, "prepare your minds for action," which we can do through daily reading: for things like peace-making in Bonheoffer's Life Together, wonder in Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, charity in Kierkegaard's Works of Love, devotion in Merton's No Man is an Island, perfection in The Imitation of Christ, and for heavenly longing in Augustine's Confessions - and, of course, the Bible above every other book!

By way of a biblical example, consider St. Paul. He wrote from prison to Timothy, "When you come, bring the cloak that I left... and also the books, and above all the parchments." Note, as Charles Spurgeon did, "Paul is inspired, and yet he wants books! He has been preaching at least for thirty years, and yet he wants books! He had seen the Lord, and yet he wants books! ...He had been caught up into the third heaven, and had heard things which it was unlawful for a men to utter, yet he wants books! He had written the major part of the New Testament, and yet he wants books.... You [my congregation,] need to read." So too, for us, we shouldn't just read St. Paul, but also like St. Paul.