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Pointers along the way #33

Missing the point!
- Jacob Ninan

When God gave the people of Israel the Sabbath day, His goal was that they would have time to put away their own work and seek Him and spend time with Him (Ex.20:9,10). But they missed the whole point when they concentrated on determining what they were not allowed to do on a Sabbath day. They went on to define what constituted work in terms of the distance they could travel and the weight they could lift legitimately on the Sabbath. The Pharisees tried to extrapolate the restriction on work to ridiculous extents when they objected to Jesus healing sick people on the Sabbath (Mt.12:10). Even now in Israel there are those who believe that switching on lights on the Sabbath day can cause minute sparks in the switch which would be against the law forbidding lighting of fire on the Sabbath day!

Are we Christians really any better? Don't we unconsciously major on "what we are not allowed to do" instead of thinking about how much closer we can get to God? Even churches sometimes make unwritten rules on what is acceptable, and it is not uncommon for people from different churches to compare notes on these when they meet each other. As children grow up they associate Christianity with what all that they are not allowed to do. We too have missed the point.

Jesus asks us to seek God and His kingdom first, promising us that then all other things will fall in place (Mt.6:33 free paraphrase). We can begin to see all things in the proper perspective only when God occupies the focus of our lives. Is this not the same thing Jesus meant when He said that only when our eye is clear our whole body will be full of light? (Lk.11:34).

Let us put God first in our lives and seek Him deliberately, consciously and with all our heart. Then we will understand and experience what God has really prepared and kept for us. Then we can also see how questions about what is allowed and not allowed resolve themselves.