Son number four had a role recently in the play, Fiddler on the Roof. In the opening song, Tevya (the papa) sings of tradition. Rules and roles. Tradition! I’m a rules kind of guy. I like things black and white. If you do A, you are going to get B. If you come home late, you will not be going out again very soon. The problem being, most things are just not black and white. Tevya draws a line in the sand and is constantly having to re-evaluate that line. His daughters keep presenting unforeseen circumstances and situations that force Tevya to question and look to his heart for answers.
It isn’t that the law is bad. The law provides structure. The law can guide and teach us how to live. It’s just that it really isn’t about life. That is where Jesus is such a gift. Jesus is the perfect model and guide. I still don’t completely understand how this works, but Jesus enriches life. Jesus is about things in the heart. You cannot legislate compassion. You cannot write laws that force people to be loving and kind. Christ can guide our hearts in a way that the law cannot.
At the end of the school year, the local sixth grade classes have a track and field day at the high school stadium. The children are excited to be competing where the “big kids” compete. It is a fun outing with lots of kids and families in a picnic atmosphere. Every student has the opportunity to compete in an event. It doesn’t matter whether you are fast or whether you are in a wheel chair, you can participate in something. My son, Nattie, was assigned the 1200 meter run. And he took it very seriously. Sometimes I worry that my kids are a little too competitive. Nattie logged over 100 miles in practice and preparation. He was excited to represent his school and confident he would win. At the end of the race, Nattie had not won. When he came back up into the stands I could tell he was very upset. He was angry at himself. He thought he had run a bad race and let his classmates down. His chin sank to his chest and he began to cry. My reaction, as a father, was to hug Nattie, but for some reason I hesitated a moment. It was one of those special moments that brands your heart. Nattie’s classmates surrounded him. They wrapped their arms around him, consoled him, assured him he had done a great job and offered him snacks and drinks. Their kindness and compassion brought tears to my eyes.
This is the way it should be. This is what Christ would have done and, as the body of Christ, this is what we should do. When I tell someone I am a Christian, what is the image that comes to their mind? Someone who is legalistic, puritanical and judgmental? Or someone who is loving, compassionate and embracing? When we see someone in need, how do we view them? As an inconvenience, a problem, a burden? Or a child of God, an opportunity to serve? When we see someone in need, we really should ask, “What would Jesus do?”
My prayer today is for guidance and the strength to be more like Christ.
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