Sunday, February 4, 2001

Matthew 11:28-30

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30

Do you ever think that we make the gospel harder than it has to be?  I think so.  We make up complicated rules for what you can and can't do on Sunday... is TV okay?  As long as you are watching touched by an angel and not football?  taking a nap is good, but idleness isn't... so, where exactly is the line?  (This is a rhetorical question; please, don't e-mail me the "answer.") :) ... I think that we do the same thing with all the commandments.  we shouldn't kill... but how about mosquitoes?  Do invertebrates feel pain?  Sex outside of marriage is bad, but how close can you get without going over?  Which sins are worse than other ones, and how much extra repentance does it take if the sin was premeditated?  Those are complicated things... I think the burden of just thinking about them is huge... but then, God comes along and tells us that his yoke is easy, and his burden is light.  Can that be true? (Another rhetorical question, by the way.) :)
I think that any time we start worrying more about commandments as limits of our freedom instead of guidelines to keep us away from the land mines, we are really losing sight of the dangers inherent in sin.  I mean, that's why we are all addicted to sinning in the first place, right?  It seemed cool... then we found out how much it hurt us.  Like a kid who thinks the gas stove is cool, until he gets burned.  But, see... we keep going back and back... like, oh... this time the flames won't hurt so bad, I think that my hand is going numb.  And how pretty that flame is... or, maybe the pain is worth it to us, for the beauty of the flame.  Someday we'll grow up and our dad will show us some basic campfire safety, so we can be pyros without killing ourselves.  Until then, we'll probably spend some time in the burn unit.  But, do we have to?  We've got some simple rules to follow... stay away from the stove.  Playing with it can only get you into trouble... cause myriads of problems.  We love playing chicken at the edge of the cliff, getting closer than anyone else... proves how brave we are, right?  And the first one to fall and die, they were the very bravest.  Do we see how insane we are sometimes?  If we actually did things the way that God asks us to, I think that life would be a lot easier... whenever I am really on track with God, my life... no matter how many seeming complications... is always, always smoother.  If we listen to God, we'll wait to mess with the stove until we learn how.  We'll stay as far away from the cliff as we can.  There is enough excitement and danger in the world without running out and playing russian... mine field.  There are so many things to see and do and read and learn... why do we insist upon engaging in death-wish dares?  Are we really that insanely starved for thrills?  The most intensely interesting things don't fry our flesh off... and they *stay* interesting, unlike getting blown up.  Compared to the complications and problems that we inject into our own lives, Christ asks very little of us... and provides us with the power to accomplish all of it.  Yoke: easy.   Burden: light.  Follow the rules and you won't get killed.  If you wander out into the mine field, repent, and God will lead you back again safely.  If you get seriously injured, God can heal you.  All of our complications are things that we invent in order to do what we want.  It doesn't have to be so overwhelming... it doesn't have to be so hard.  God will clarify... just do good.  Listen to him.  He will bear our burdens, carry our pain, our sorrow... as we learn about him and recognize what he is trying to save us from.  If we can do that, we will find peace, and rest... far from the stove, the mine field, and all of our collected complications.  There *are* better things out there. :)

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