“You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” (Matthew 23:23, NIV 1984).
“You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!” (Mark 7:9, NIV 1984).
“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?” (Galatians 5:6–7, NIV 1984).
My Musings – Your children had been dropping hints (some subtle, some not so subtle) since Thanksgiving about this season’s must have toy. In my childhood days, we dog-eared the pages and circled the items in the Sears Roebuck or J.C. Penney “wish book.” How’s that for subtlety? It was an exciting day for sure when those arrived in the mail.
More than once you made it to the store just in time to be told the last one had just been sold. There were hopeful promises of one last shipment before Christmas, but you’d heard those before. Checking availability on-line came up empty. But finally, with shopping days left to Christmas almost over (and no shipping time left at all) you were able to track one down. What a relief. Christmas morning would not be a disappointment to your child.
Now the excitement of Christmas morning is over, family and guests have left and your child is in the family room playing – – with the box the must have toy came in. You had to see that coming. Didn’t you?
Sometimes we get distracted by the box that Christianity gets “packaged” in. It may be in the form of tradition, rituals or “religion.” Or maybe in legalistic “do’s and don’ts” We were “running a good race” yet we allowed these things to “cut in on us,” when the real deal was what was “in the box.” It’s not always that these things were intrinsically bad, but we “should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” We should not have “set aside” the gift that was inside the box.
My Advice – God took great care to send us just the right gift. It needed no “packaging” or fancy “wrapping.” Let’s accept and enjoy it for what it is, appreciate who it came from and be thankful for the gift. Let’s not let the excitement wear off and allow us to be distracted by the trappings.
Want to become a Christian? See my blog series “The Born Again Experience.”
Want a closer walk with Christ? See my blog series “Got Spiritual Milk?”