Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.” Luke 13:14 (NIV)
Imagine, you’ve just stopped by your neighbor’s house for a quick visit and while you’re chatting in the den, her toddler trips and hits his head on the sharp edge of a coffee table.
Before you can even move, the toddler is covered in blood and as you rush to help him, you hear the boy’s mother behind you screaming, “Oh my Lord, he’s ruined my carpet!”
If the story were true, you’d be pretty angry, perhaps even livid, that a mother would be more concerned about carpet than about her injured son. Most likely, you’d question whether she was fit to be a mother, and so would just about anyone who heard the story.
Here’s the thing, the problem Jesus had with the toxic faith of the Pharisees was that they were more concerned about the carpet than they were about the injured child. They placed a higher value on rules and regulations than they did on the people they were meant to shepherd and love.
Luke, the first missionary doctor, describes a moment among these lords of lists. The local leader chastises Jesus for, in a sense, rushing to the aid of a bleeding child instead of making sure the carpet stayed clean.
“Those of you who are bleeding, come back tomorrow!” (paraphrase of Luke 13:14). Can you think of a more effective way to teach that love is not a 24/7 thing? But among the lords of lists, love is subject to all rules and regulations.
Talk about it
Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And that the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. He adds, “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:37-40 NIV)
This means love should always be the foundation of our rules and regulations. How can you tell when love is present in the rules? How can you tell when the rules have pushed love from the top spot?
Jon Walker is managing editor of Rick Warren’s Daily Hope Devotionals and author of Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s ‘The Cost of Discipleship’.
This devotional © Copyright 2012 Jon Walker. All rights reserved. Used by permission.