Friday, December 06, 2013
Today’s Topic: Stay Inside the Lines
Today’s Text: Luke 2:25 (ESV)
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
Yesterday was the first Thursday of the month. That’s significant because on that specific day there is an event I attend. It’s nothing fancy or elaborate, but it is important because it involves connecting with other men my age (sorry James Alan). We simply call it The Old Men’s Luncheon, and appropriately we meet at the Old Country Buffet.
When I arrived at the luncheon yesterday and pulled into the parking area that parallels Clairemont Avenue, I noticed something was wrong. All of the cars that were parked along the frontage road were angled the wrong way. Someone had pulled into the first parking space headed in the wrong direction. Every car after that had ignored the normal parking pattern and had followed the lead of the first car. So I had a choice between following the new pattern and parking correctly so that every car after me would also park correctly.
Now the problem really started when the ice and snow covered up all the parking space lines so they were not visible. When that first car pulled in, several possibilities came into play. Maybe they were new to town and had never parked there before so they had no point of reference when choosing how to position their vehicle. Maybe they did know the lines were there, but for convenience sake they simply pulled in, knowing that if questioned they could claim ignorance because the lines weren’t visible. But the motive of the first car’s driver is not my main focus. Rather, I want to address the heart of all subsequent drivers, including me, who followed the wrong pattern after it had been established.
The real issue is not this parking lot. Whether the cars angle one way or the other is not really significant. But the behavior of all the drivers illustrates a deep spiritual principle: the coldness of our hearts that covers the moral lines by which we are guided to make decisions.
We all have a moral code written into our minds. We have been taught where the lines are. Thou shalt not commit murder. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness (lie). Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt have no other gods before YHWH (Jehovah). There are a total of ten boundary lines on the parking lot of life. We can park ourselves anywhere inside those lines, but the Owner of the lot commands us not to cross the lines.
The reality is that our sinful human nature loves to cross lines. Even when the lines are visible we still cross them, somehow thinking that we are immune to the consequences. This is intentional rebellion. But an even bigger issue is when we choose to cross lines that are not visible even though we know they are there. For a variety of reasons, the moral lines God painted have been covered up by man’s progressive thinking. As a result, we have started parking outside the lines because someone else did. As we observe how they parked, all of the following things flash through our mind:
- They parked wrong
- They are getting away with it – there’s no ticket on their windshield
- It sure makes sense to park that way
- It’s a lot more convenient to just follow the pattern
- It be a mess to park correctly now and mess up the next guy
- I will actually be helping others by parking the way everyone else does
- I wouldn’t want to park correctly and make the guy who parked wrong feel bad.
I know these thoughts, because I followed the pattern too. Again, I’m not really talking about the parking lot; I’m talking about everyday life choices to stay inside God’s lines or follow the pattern of the world.
The lines are almost invisible. The only way the world can still see them is by following the pattern of someone who knows they are there.