Playing by the rules

Kids playing Uno

If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”

He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus (Matthew 12:7-14).

A young student was showing me how to play a game that I hadn’t played before. It was fun, but then I thought a rule that had been set was changed. I thought maybe I had forgotten, but then realized that the rules were being altered as we played to the advantage of the student who wanted to win. There seems to be power in knowing the rules.

We are a society that loves to have rules. We may not admit to that, but there is a feeling of empowerment when we know exactly what we need to do and when we need to do it. In fact, we will fight for our rules because that is what we know and how we identify ourselves. The problem here is that we tend to focus on the rule as our master, and are blinded to what God truly has for us. When God is put on the throne in our lives rather than the rule—things change. Obviously, rules are good to have or we would have total chaos, but Jesus offers a freedom that allows us to learn from him. He is a God of order and offers true shalom for our lives.

Prayer: Jesus, you are the one who knows the best way for me to go. I pray that as I seek you, that my obedience to you will bring the peace only your can bring.  Amen

Faith Tip: Is there a rule in your life that has you tightly bound? Look to Jesus for freedom and peace in that rule. Jesus doesn’t say to go against the rules, he says to follow him.

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