There are some primitive/antique décor shops that I enjoy browsing through. They usually sell some ‘new’ items as well. One new sign that I have seen frequently in the past several years says “Simplify”. I think I am drawn to that concept with the passage of time and accumulation of ‘stuff’. But the irony is that the shop is full of things that the merchant enticingly displays luring in the buyer to buy more ‘stuff’. The cycle of collecting continues and the concept of ‘simplify’ goes unnoticed…unless, of course, one buys the sign with that word on it!
I was curious this past week and checked online for ‘rules’ to be a member in three different ‘churches’. Rule-lists stretched from five to thirty-six rules. And the rules were different in all these churches that are good churches that encourage people to be people of faith. But the thing that bothers me is just that..that there are man-made rules and rules are good, but…if I read my Bible correctly Jesus had a problem with people making additional rules for people to follow.
People may have been confused back in Jesus’ day about commandments. Some may have been overwhelmed by them. Others were hypocritical about them. “Then Jesus said to the crowds, and to his disciples: “You would think these Jewish leaders and these Pharisees were Moses, the way they keep making up so many laws! And of course you should obey their every whim! It may be all right to do what they say, but above anything else, don’t follow their example. For they don’t do what they tell you to do. They load you with impossible demands that they themselves don’t even try to keep.” (Matthew 23:1-4)
It seems to me Jesus came to simplify His Gospel when He told the crowds: “Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second most important is similar: Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets stem from these two laws and are fulfilled if you obey them. Keep only these and you will find that you are obeying all the others.”
Maybe it is time for church rulers to clean out the clutter of the rule lists and invite people into a love/obedience TWO RULE Life! Simplify!