Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Loving in Every Way

Wherefore, I give unto them a commandment, saying thus: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy might, mind, and strength; and in the name of Jesus Christ thou shalt serve him. Doctrine and Covenants 59:5

Here’s an abbreviated version of what I have gathered from Hebrew thought and teachings concerning the four ways to love the Lord:

Heart = Prayer The heart is the seat of wisdom—and the wise person prays continually for increased understanding. Prayer is a form of worship.

Might = Physical strength When we use our strength to serve others, we are worshipping God.

Mind = Study In the Hebrew culture, study of the scriptures is considered to be the highest form of worship. The more we learn about the Lord, the more our love for Him increases. As that happens, we have greater desires to keep his commandments.

Strength = Resources Being generous and using all forms of our wealth to bless others is a way to show our love for Him. Those who have no money can donate their time and talents.


  1. very good! Regarding "study of the scriptures is considered to be the highest form of worship.": I agree wholeheartedly, but I was just wondering if you had any ready references from Jewish commentary or such available?

  2. Here's a good quote with a link to the entire article:

    Study of Scripture is the highest form of worship of our Creator. To quote John Garr,

    " . . . intensive study of the Word of God is the most reliable way in which God can speak to us and cause us to understand his will and his ways. Even the most intense and profound subjective experiences must be judged by the written Word of God (II Peter 1:16-19). Study of the Word of God, then, with a view toward doing the Word, is an act of submission to the divine will, the essence of true worship. When we pray, we speak with God; when we study, God speaks to us.

    "For many centuries study has been at the very heart of the Jewish experience, so much so that much of Judaism has considered study as the highest form of worship. Humbly submitting oneself to the wisdom of God revealed in the Tenach (Hebrew Scriptures) was viewed as worship, which literally meant to "prostrate oneself" before the Eternal. The Hebrew word for worship, dg"s] (segad), means to "bow down or do obeisance to," and it has the connotation of total submission to a superior (as the king). The Greek translation of this word, proskunevw (proskunĂ©o), is even more graphic, meaning to "kiss as a dog licking its master’s hand."

    "The decision to study God’s Word in order to do His Word is a meaningful act of submission and reverence–in short, it is worship. Study carried out with this motive is the very essence of Jewish learning. This is not study in order to understand; it is study in order to do. Abraham Joshua Heschel encapsulated this Jewish approach to study by saying that the Greeks study in order to understand while the Hebrews study in order to revere. God’s Word and ways are ineffable: only by doing them does one understand them.

    "Study of God’s Word in order to mold one’s lifestyle to that Word is also worship in the truest sense of the English word worship, which means to "ascribe worth to." When we fully submit our lives to God’s Word, when we study what he has said with complete devotion and intensity, we do, indeed, ascribe worth to him: we worship him.

  3. Thanks Donna! Merry Christmas!

    Steven Montgomery

  4. Donna,

    Yesterday I gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting on scripture study, where I used part of your post above, regarding study of the scriptures is considered the highest form of worship in Hebrew culture. I just thought you'd like to know that I received an email compliment afterwards, part of which stated: "the comment you made about studying the scriptures is one of the highest forms a worship there is, really stood out to me. It really makes sense because we are taking time out of our "busy" lives to focus on what the will of the Lord is." Anyhow, thanks for helping my talk be such a great success. You are touching lives. Thanks.

    Steven Montgomery