Careful Observation

Christmas is a season of giving and receiving gifts. One of the greatest gifts I (Dave) have been given as Area Director is the ability to minister alongside my wife, Kelly. On a daily basis, I am blessed by her wisdom and good judgment. In this update, I’d like to share a sampling of that wisdom, featured previously on her Instagram account:

This year Dave and I have been reading through the Torah, which is the word used to describe the first five books in the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible. We just recently finished up our study on Deuteronomy, the last book (or scroll) of the five.

The Torah offers us wisdom to love our neighbor in practical ways. 

There are several repeated themes throughout the Hebrew scrolls. One repeated phrase in particular caught my attention as I read. It is typically spoken by God Himself or God through Moses: Be careful to observe the laws (Deut 16:12).  A more modern idea for this might be “Follow the rules.”  I guess human nature, though, is to break the rules. We even have sayings in our culture like, “Rules were meant to be broken.” But any reasonable person knows that rules are there for a purpose. They keep us safe, provide order, and promote human flourishing.

It always helps me to know the reason behind the command—it’s easier, then, to “keep” it. God gives several reasons along with His rules, things like so it will go well with you (Deut. 12:25; 22:7); to give you long life (Deut. 5:16, 33); and to show others who are watching the wisdom of a life lived in communion with a God who is near and interacts with His people (Deut. 4:6-8). 

It’s clear that certain laws were meant for that specific time and place, but we can still glean wisdom from the idea behind the law. An ancient law mandating the building of a railing around the second-story roof (Deut. 22:8), for example, would be emphasizing the safety of others, especially within your home. We’re reminded, with examples like this, that it’s all about loving others and loving God. 

So, as we close out this year, having spent November expressing our gratefulness through Thanksgiving, let’s continue to reflect not only on what we do but the “why” behind it. Our prayer for you in 2023 and beyond is that things may go well with you, that you may live a long life, and that, by your example, many will see the wisdom of a life lived in communion with our God who is very near to us all.

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