One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?”
Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that He is One, and there is no one else besides Him; and to love Him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as himself, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions. (Mark 12. 28-34)
When Jesus recited the greatest of the commandments, He repeated the word “all” four times. Later Paul emphasized that “all things were created” through and for Christ (Colossians 1.15-18). How much of “all” is all?
Here’s how the typical American who lives to be 75 year old will spend his or her life: 8% Preschool; 12% School; 39% Work; 28% Time Off; 18% Retirement; and .9% Church.
In light of the use of time, when does a person “love the Lord God” as Jesus commanded? Is that limited to what one does for an hour or so on Sunday morning? If so, then worship takes up a mere 3,900 hours, or 0.9 percent, of one’s waking life – assuming that one goes to church every Sunday for 75 years!
Is that what Jesus or Paul had in mind? No, Christ is Lord of all life – not just Sunday mornings, but weekdays, too, including time at work. Furthermore, He is Lord not only of our time, but of our money and possessions as well. Unfortunately, many Christians in the West have developed some dangerous attitude in these areas that push God to the fringes of life. For example:
Myth: One-seventh of our time belongs to God.
Some Christians speak of Sunday as “the Lord’s Day,” a day of religion. And so it might be if Christians worshipped from sunup to sundown. But for most people Sunday worship means as hour-long service before an afternoon of televised sporting events. Thus the “day of worship” is effectively reduced to less than one-twentieth of the week.
That was never what God intended. Originally, the seventh day or Sabbath rest was viewed as the completion of the week, not a break or separation from the work week. It was a time for review, celebration, and restoration.
Yet already by Jesus’ day there were major distortions regarding the Sabbath. It had become a day of legalistic ritual. Jesus sought to restore it as a day of compassion and worship (Luke 6.1-11; John 5.1-18).
Dedicating all of our time to God does not mean apportioning so much to family, so much to a job, so much for ourselves, and a little left over for God. No, all 168 hours or the week, all 52 weeks of the year, and all of the years of a lifetime belong to God and are on loan to us to manage for Him.
Myth: Ten percent of our money belongs to God.
Some Christians believe that God expects them to give a flat 10 percent of their income to church and other ministries. The reality is that on the average, American believers give only 2.3 percent of their income to religious or charitable causes of any kind.
The underlying principle that needs to be considered is that God has given us the ability to earn money, so actually all 100 percent of our earnings belong to Him. We are called to manage our money – not just what we give away, but what we keep, too – according to His values.
Tithing was intended as a discipline to remind God’s people that all of what they have or earn belongs to Him. Originally a voluntary activity (Genesis 14.13-24; 28.20-22), it was intended for the care of others and as a representation of the worship of God (Deuteronomy 26.1-19). Tithing was never intended to replace obedience to all of God’s commands.
– The Word in Life Study Bible