Religion is a powerful thing. In it’s negative form it can make us feel like we’re serving a machine that demands much of us. But nothing could be further from Jesus’ heart.
In the build up to this verse, Jesus’ disciples picked some grain from fields as they walked, and ate it on the Sabbath – something that made the Pharisees twitch with religious fervour! They weren’t behaving right, or so they were told!
Jesus response placed the reason for laws and ideals firmly back into place – Religion was not the essence of God’s agenda, not the object of His love, and certainly not the reason for the commandments. No, man was the pinnacle of God’s creation. And the Sabbath was created for man to enjoy, not man for the Sabbath.
It is a subtle change in our thinking, but makes all the difference, when we realise God did not make you to pray, to sing, to behave, to worship, to serve. No, He made you to love you!
But He made all these things like prayer, worship, service – so that you would live a fulfilling life close to Him! They “serve” you by drawing you into intimate time with Him (prayer), by focusing all your worth and longings on Him (worship) and by giving you noble reason for living (service).
So if anything in you is tempted to think you are ticking boxes on a religious Quality Control form (e.g. Have I prayed enough? sung enough? given enough? served enough?), then turn it all around today. God actually made all these things to bless YOU – You’re the pinnacle of His creation, the apple of His eye, the object of His love and the obsession of His story – YES…HE is obsessed with YOU – no full reading of the Bible could conclude anything different. He completely adores you to the point of death! (Wild isn’t it?!)
So realise today, that all the paraphernalia of Church, prayer, song, service – it’s all about you. It was made for you (and Him, i.e. Us), not the other way around. So don’t endure it, enjoy it!
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