Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Rules, For My Sake

Tuesday is the night that I meet with the senior high girls. Sometimes, it is difficult to tell them just how different we are called to be. Different is not easy, especially in high school.

Mark 2:27 brings up a topic that most people redefine in this culture. It is not easy. It is different. It is the Sabbath.

Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.” – Mark 2:27 & 28, NRSV

Thinking back, I can remember the immediacy of my teenage years. I can remember attending church and wondering how all of the “should nots” would actually look if they were thrown into a bag, whipped around a few times, and expelled into something resembling a life. It is impossible to dream up even now, really.

After thinking a little on this, I propose the trick is to demonstrate that the rules did not come first.

We were not crafted for a life of fitting the mold.

Church is not manicuring us for the law of similarity.

Humans did not come to be against the backdrop of the great book of rules.

And, the Sabbath is not an infringement on our week to make us less potent.

The Sabbath is no traditional rule. Instead, this verse told me that the Sabbath was made for me, entrusted to me. I was not created for the Sabbath, which perhaps exposes my difficulty of compliance with this day. Simply, there are rules that are created with us in mind. God gave this day to us, for our sake. This is the nature of God’s rules.

Coming back to the senior high, they might say, “Well, then I would rather not, if it is for my sake; but, thank you.” Lots of adults model this every week. I don’t see why they should think differently.

Then I remember a verse concerning what God does for His sake,

I, I am He

who blots out your transgressions for my own sake,

and I will not remember your sins. – Isaiah 43:25, NRSV

I have looked at this verse a hundred ways, and still the best reading is its face value. For some reason, my sins are forgiven for His sake, not for mine. They are forgiven to accomplish His purpose in the world, in humanity. I am free, for His sake, and with this freedom I can have relationship with the Father. I can enjoy Him. All of this, for His sake.

So, for His sake He gives me the hope of salvation and the gift of eternal life, and, for our sake He makes a Sabbath. For our sake, He makes rules for us; not rules with the end of governing but rules with the end of freedom. Today I will explain this, in different words to my girls. I will tell them that different is not easy, but it ends in freedom and peace.

Do you have a great way to explain being “different”? Leave me a comment and tell me what you think about it.

Father, thank you for acting in ways that allow us to see who you are. Thank you for making rules for us that act on our behalf. Most of all, thank you for freeing us for your sake. Although this seems an impossibility, we rest in freedom and peace that you offer.


  1. wow - this is going to give me a lot to think about. I have our high school girls on Monday evenings and I think I might try to express these thoughts to them next week!! Your girls are so blessed to have you to encourage them to live a set apart life!!!

  2. Lots for an old Ozarks farm chick to ponder here. I teach a pre-teen Sunday School class and am the Kid's Church leader. We are unique creatures make in Gods likeness. We are all alike as creations of God but our choices as Children of God must differ from the world. Teens are so involved with being accepted by their peers they may make bad choices to belong to the in~crowd when the in~crowd is lost. Teens are great, puzzled, confused with self image and just finding their way. I love 'em and are amazed by them. Have fun with them as God directs you.

    Have a wonderful day enjoying your many blessings!!!

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