As a child, did it seem like there were so many rules you had to follow? Clean your rooms, do your chores, do your homework, don’t leave the lights on, and shut the door when you go outside, and so on and so on. It seemed like every time you turned around your parents had a new rule to follow; did you feed the dog or cat? Then you went to school and there were more rules. Sit quietly at your desk, pay attention to your teacher when they were speaking, don’t run in the halls and I am sure many more. Then we grew up. Did the rules go away? No, I don’t think they did, there were just different ones. Some of the same rules that you grew up with are still there but there are more. There are the rules you need to follow at work, like the customer is always right so be courteous to the customers for you need to remember that the customers are the ones that provide your pay check. If you work in the medical field, you have to remember that you can’t talk about anything related to any one; there is that confidentiality thing you need to follow. Anymore that confidentiality thing is everywhere. Then you learn to drive and how many rules do you have to learn? What side of the road to drive on, stop when you see that red sign or the red light. Go whatever the posted speed limit is and well, you get the picture. Our lives are inundated with rules, it can be stressful just trying to remember what we have to follow, and it seems like every time we turn around there is something new to follow, especially this past year and a half. Wouldn’t life be a whole lot easier if we didn’t have any rules to follow? Well, in some aspects maybe yes but bottom line if there were no rules, our world would be nothing but chaos. Can you even begin to imagine what the world would be like with 7.9 billion people running around doing whatever they want, however they want? Total Chaos!!!
Now as Christians, we have rules to follow that were given to us long ago by God, through Moses. They are known as the Ten Commandments and can be found in Exodus 20.
20 And God spoke all these words:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before me”.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
They are all good rules to follow but I can understand that remembering all of them as written could be a challenge.
Which brings us to the scripture that I read today from Mark 12. Jesus is asked which of the commandments was the most important to see if He could be tricked and give the wrong answer. But instead He says that there 2 rules to follow and if you follow them carefully you will end up following all the rules or commandments. The first rule is to love God with all your heart, your soul, and all your might. The second is to love your neighbor as yourself. For if we treat other people the way we would like to be treated would we steal from them? Would we kill them? Would we lie to them? Our answer should always be no. We wouldn’t want that to happen to us so why would we do that to others?
So, if we remember the 2 most important rules then the rest of the commandments should be followed automatically. It is one way to make remembering the rules that we should always put first in our lives easy. Just 2 rules; love God with all your heart, your soul, and all your might. Then love your neighbor as yourself or put a little differently; do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Sound familiar?
Just one last thought. There needs to be rules in place, how else can we keep 7.9 billion people in line and working towards the same goal to be able to live with each other. So make your life a little easier and just remember the 2 most important rules.