Rules and Regulations
I will never forget your commandments, for by them you give me life. – Psalm 119:93 (NLT)
Many communities across our country are experiencing grass-roots rebellions against mandates put in place to mitigate the spread of Covid.
No one really wants their lives encumbered by unnecessary red tape and extraneous regulations. So, with an eye toward protecting individual liberty, some of us cast a suspect eye toward expanded regulations.
Recognizing the futility and oppressiveness of pretentious religious rules, Jesus invites his followers to take up his yoke and learn of his way. In so doing, Jesus promises that we will find his yoke to be easy and his burden to be light. Instead of the multitudinous mandates of the law, Jesus issues one essential commandment: the commandment to love God and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. According to Jesus, obedience to that one supreme commandment alleviates the tedious compliance of all the others.
Less laws and more love. This is still a pressing need of our day.
To be sure, no commandment is more challenging than the commandment to love. And to be sure, no commandment is more liberating than the commandment to love.
Saint Augustine said we should love God and do what we want. What an awesome liberty. What an awesome law.
A few years ago, I found myself struggling to meet a rather daunting mandate of a grant proposal for a pastoral sabbatical. The main stipulation of the proposal was that I use the grant to pursue that which makes my heart sing. Decades of trying to meet the requirements of others initially left me at a loss in determining my own heart’s desire. But when I was finally able to articulate what I really wanted, I discovered that what I really wanted was precisely what the grant funders required.
Lord help us to find our liberty in your law. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.