My first experience of riding a big-boy-bike was on a bicycle far too big for me, in a very long and straight off-street-lane, with only one of my elder brothers with me.
“You can do it Paul – just pedal. All you have to do is pedal.” So I took him at his word. I pedalled! I had no idea how to turn … slow down … stop … cruise … all I knew was “pedal Paul!” – I was totally terrified but safe!
As a father I have since done that “jogging thing”. Your child totters along on a tiny bike, twisting impossible jigs and jags and I jog alongside encouraging.
My elder brother was not jogging nor encouraging. He was sprinting and yelling. He was yelling “Stop pedalling!!” Because at the end of this long and straight lane was a very wide and busy main street. And I was heading straight to it. Problem was – to stop would be to fall off. And that wasn’t “safe”. I could not touch the ground – I would fall off if I stopped – I would hurt myself if I stopped. So I pedalled – totally terrified but safe!
(Happy ending: my brother caught the bike, we stopped, he was so out of breath he couldn’t even give me “what for” – and I remember that first bike ride like it was yesterday!)
On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely. Just then, in front of him, there was a man who had dropsy. And Jesus asked the lawyers and Pharisees, “Is it lawful to cure people on the sabbath, or not?” But they were silent. So Jesus took him and healed him, and sent him away. Then he said to them, “If one of you has a child or an ox that has fallen into a well, will you not immediately pull it out on a sabbath day?” And they could not reply to this. Luke 14:1-6
Since settling on “Love is always the answer, now what’s the question” I hear from quite a number that Love isn’t always the answer. It’s not “tough enough”.
Love is that “nice stuff” which makes us feel good – but not fit for purpose in getting things done. Love is the “wishy-washy stuff” that is good when things are going well – but just gets us into trouble when things are not. Love is a goal – not an objective. Love is “all well and good” – but we have real lives to lead – and we need the law to do that – because people will always take advantage of each other – dog-eat-dog – might is right … All that stuff.
That’s why love is not enough, Paul, read The Law:
“Bear in mind that the Lord has given you the Sabbath; that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Everyone is to stay where they are on the seventh day; no one is to go out.” Exodus 16:29
“For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a day of sabbath rest to the Lord. Whoever does any work on it is to be put to death.” Exodus 35:2
(and now read Love within The Law)
“How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Matthew 12:12
“But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him on his way.” Luke 14:4
The Law is “training wheels” to Love. My first terrifying ride had no training wheels, and if I had not been “saved” by my brother … what chance would I have had to find the exquisite beauty of bicycle rides, of the freedom of riding, of outings with friends … of freedom?
You do not need to be saved to live by The Law. But if you have been “saved”, then why live ONLY by the Law (and why even bother preaching “Love” …the Gospel … the Good News … the Living Word)?
Because what if I had had “training wheels” – but never got beyond them … would I have ever needed “saving” (and what chance would I have had to find the exquisite beauty of bicycle rides, of the freedom of riding, of outings with friends … of freedom)?
Where is the freedom in being “saved” but always living “totally terrified but safe”?
Is that what God really desires?