"'Well said, teacher,' the man replied. 'You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.'
When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, 'You are not far from the kingdom of God.'" (Mark 12)
This is an exchange between a teacher of the law, a religious leader and Jesus. These conversations usually end with Jesus calling these guys names...snakes, vipers, hypocrites, tombs filled with dead bones, etc. But not this guy.
"You are not far from the kingdom of God."
And he wasn't far...not just in his answer but in his proximity. He was standing right next to Jesus...the embodiment of the love that gives definition to God's Kingdom. In fact, the only distance this teacher had to cross was going from knowing the answer to living in that love and the object and example was right there in front of him - Jesus.
We Christians cast blame on the Jews for missing it. But don't we miss the point just as often? We too can make the promise of a Savior about power, position, fame, association, systems of rules and national pride.
But there is Jesus, just Jesus, pointing the way to the Father, sending us his Spirit and opportunities to love neighbors abound all around us.
Let's not hover near the Kingdom of God...let's step into it today.
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