There once was a man who wanted nothing more than to do what God wanted him to do. He spent his whole life studying the wisdom of the world’s great religious traditions. And still, he searched. He had found many answers to many questions and they had indeed made him very wise. But each new answer seemed to also raise ten new questions. There was no end to the search, it would seem. And he had decided that this was a blessing. “Of course,” The Searcher thought to himself, “the mind of God is so vast and great that all the answers to all the questions in the world still would not give me but a single drop of the great ocean of God’s wisdom.” This humbled the man, who continued his journey towards wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and compassion.
However, one day, as The Searcher was walking along he overheard a debate among some other wisdom seekers. They were arguing over the right answer to many questions. But there was one person among them that everyone seemed to have gathered around. With each question they posed to attempt to corner this person, this Wise One had an answer that, rather than pose more questions, seemed to answer even more than had been asked.
So, The Searcher stepped forward to pose his own question. He asked, “Of all the important things a faithful person might do, which one is the MOST important?”
The Wise One stopped, turned, and looked at The Searcher with great Love. The Wise One could tell that The Searcher asked this question not as a trick or a trap, but from the depths of his heart. The Searcher asked this question not to become powerful but to become helpful and loving and wise and good.
“The most important thing has already been known for thousands of years. It has been hidden in plain sight in the words of our most common affirmation of faith. It was taught to you as a child. You say it every day when you rise and every night when you rest. It is written on the doorpost at your home. It is bound to your arm at this very moment.”
The Searcher looked down at his arm and smiled. “Of course!” he exclaimed. “The truth has been right here with me all along. I didn’t need to go searching for it. It has already found me!”
The Wise One began to say the words that were already tied to The Searcher’s arm. “The most important thing is this: ‘Listen! O one who struggles with God: God is Unity, there is no division; and you shall love God with all your Heart, and with all your Soul, and with all your Mind, and with all your Strength.’ And the second most important thing is this, ‘You shall love all others knowing there is truly no division between them and you.’”
At these words, tears welled up in The Searcher’s eyes, so much that his vision of The Wise One became obscured. And yet, for the first time in his life, he could truly see. With trembling voice he replied, “You are right, Wise One; for you have truly said that ‘God is One, and there is none else’; and ‘to love God with all that I am, Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength, and to love all others as self’ - this is much more important than anything else I could ever do.”
When The Wise One saw that The Searcher answered wisely, The Wise One said to him, “You are not far from standing exactly where you need to be.” After that, no one dared to ask The Wise One any more questions. For there were no other questions to ask.
(a retelling of The Gospel According to Mark 12:28-34)
Question of the Week
What question is at the depths of your heart today?
Might you be bold enough to bring it to The Wise One?