March 5: not far from (Deuteronomy 1-2; Mark 12)

What does it mean to be “not far from” something? In the reading from Deuteronomy, we have a review of history that was covered in earlier books. Moses and the people come to the edge of the Promised Land. They are not far from it but are afraid to go any further even with assurances from God that life will go well for them. They are not far but for those who were guided by fear, they will never come any closer to the Promised Land than “not far from it.”

I don’t want to live far from it. I want to experience it. I want to live in it. We often use the words “not far from” as an advantage – to live not far from work or school or family or the grocery store. When Jesus says, “You are not far from the kingdom of God,” (Mark 12:34), it sounds like it is within reach. It is an advantage but only if I will reach toward the kingdom of God. How is that possible? The greatest commandment – which interestingly enough is not new, it is found in Deuteronomy 6.

To know the right answer gets one close – not far from. To go the rest of the way, I must let what I know to be right to be reflected in my life. I want to live in the kingdom of God. What could I do today in my life to reach the Promised Land?

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