In our reading through the Bible (or part of the Bible) in a year, some of us have reached the first listing of the Ten Commandments (in Exodus 20). What I think is interesting and fun is that you can take a lesser topic or a sub-topic to “what God wants,” and you can create a ten commandments list for it. You can create a ten commandments list for parenting or fishing. You can do it for skateboarding, leadership, or outdoor cooking. And for me, each time I do this or see it, it reminds me of the real Ten Commandments.
There’s a good reason for this. Life is meant to be lived by the rules. More specifically, life is meant to lived by God’s rules. I know this sounds square of me, anachronistic, old-fashioned, maybe even overly religious. Still, it’s true. There are rules for everything. And this is a good thing. Some of us still carry around this less-than-intelligent view that it’s better to break rules than keep them. Pain is the guaranteed result of such thinking. Think of all the times today you’ll be happy following rules. Maybe it’s while you’re driving. Maybe it’s in how you choose breakfast foods. Maybe it’s in what you choose to wear. Maybe it’s in how you respond to the other humans in your life. Better decisions yield better results across the board. That’s the rules. When God says not to put anyone or anything before Him, not to make substitutes for Him or misuse His Name… when He says to rest, when He says to honor all the people in your life… when He says not to murder, commit adultery, steal, lie, or covet… He’s giving us our rules for life. Break these and suffer. Period. Keep these and live. Of course, we break them anyway and we need grace and Christ and the grace of Christ. Amen, but still, let’s not call the Law evil. Breaking the Law – breaking God’s rules, in other words – this is what is evil. This is what Christ died to forgive us for: our sin. What is sin but God’s rules broken? So, yes, rules are good.
It’s serious stuff, but – because it’s true – we can have fun, and be edified by this fun, through looking at the rest of life this way. For example, sometimes I break the rules of fashion. These are times when others – especially my wife – must show me grace. You see, even on a superficial level, a great truth rises. We have rules. Good. We break rules. Bad. We need Grace.
So, below is my list for this Sunday morning. If you come up with one that you think people will enjoy, and you’re willing to share it, please send it along. (Note: there are some responses to my spot or blog writing challenge/offer that I have yet to post. I plan to post more!)
John’s (fun) ten commandments of getting to church on time on Sunday morning (not in any order):
- Thou shalt not stay up to watch Saturday Night Live. (It’s really not as good as it used to be anyway.)
- Thou shalt not attempt to launder the outfit you really want to wear to church anytime within 85 minutes of the beginning of the service you plan to attend. (No one will notice that you wore what’s already clean last week or the week before.)
- Thou shalt not eat anything on Sunday morning that requires a bib or unusual utensils. (You can eat whatever that is later… after church!)
- Thou shalt not overindulge in genuine Mexican, Thai, or Brazilian fare after 9:15pm on Saturday night. (It’s never pretty.)
- Thou shalt not have children in organized sports where the only game day and time is Sunday morning. (Yeah, I know. Been there myself.)
- Thou shalt not have family members who believe “kicking and screaming” are how one must begin every morning that involves leaving the house in the morning to get somewhere else at a certain time. (You’re not getting out of the house anytime soon.)
- Thou shalt not try to catch just one more (or worse, one last) episode of that awesome Netflix or Amazon series you’re presently binging on. (All forward focus shall then be squandered.)
- Thou shalt not commence Internet browsing or “research” at the exact time you know you should be getting in the shower. (No, you can’t make up time by skipping “lower priority” steps in you personal hygiene regimen. Please don’t.)
- Thou shalt not speed to church because you’re running late. (Every Sunday, in every town in America, police officers see vans and station wagons barreling through their towns filled with with agitated, arguing, formally dressed families.)
- Thou shalt not attempt to blame other family members for your late arrival. (We all know it was you.)