“Our next-door neighbors invited us over last weekend to share some barbecued hamburgers with them,” Stan commented one morning.
“That was certainly nice of them,” I said. “Have a good time?”
“Sure did,” Stan replied. “Our neighbor had a new grill he wanted to try out. Food was great, the company was great, and he had a good story to tell about his new grill that related to his faith walk.”
“New grill and a faith walk,” I replied. “What was that all about?”
“He bought the new grill at Big Box Wholesale Club,” Stan said. “It came in a box unassembled and he had to put it together before it could be used.”
“The grill had to be put together,” I replied. “I’ve done that kind of thing and more often than not it is a real adventure. How’d it go for him?”
“Well,” Stan said, “he told us that everything was going fine; he was following the instructions and the grill was going together, but then he stopped following the instructions.”
“He thought he knew what needed to be done to finish putting it together,” Stan said, “but when he thought he was all done, there was a bunch of parts that he hadn’t used.”
“Oh,” I replied. “Then what?”
“He looked at the instructions, then took the grill back apart until he got to the place in the instructions where he could see that he had missed putting in some of the parts.”
“And he got it put together?”
“He did,” Stan said, “and it works just like it’s supposed to. That was the spiritual lesson he was able to pass on to us.”
“What spiritual lesson?”
“Be sure to read and follow all of the instructions that God has for us,” Stan replied. “In fact, my neighbor was able to point out something that Jesus said in two different places that were quite opposite. If people stop reading the Bible after what Jesus said in the first instance, they will miss a very important instruction Jesus gave later.”
“How so?” I said. “What was your neighbor pointing out?”
“In chapter 16 of Matthew’s gospel,” Stan replied, “Jesus warned His disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ. However, at the end of Matthew’s gospel, in what is called ‘the Great Commission’, Jesus said the opposite by telling the disciples to tell the whole world about Him.”
“So,” I said, “it’s important to read and to know the whole Bible, to read all of the instructions, so I will know what to do in response to what God says. Is that it?”
“That’s it,” Stan replied.“ Just think, where we would be if people stopped reading in Chapter 16 where Jesus said to tell no one about who He is. We wouldn’t know and we wouldn’t be able to tell anyone else. The church would have died a long time ago.”
“Maybe,” I said, “that’s why there aren’t as many Christians and disciples as there should be. Maybe too many people stopped reading the instructions.”
“You could be right,” Stan replied.
Bible verses to consider:
Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ. Matthew 16:20.
And He warned them to tell no one about Him. Mark 8:30.
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20.
Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without the preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Romans 10:13-15.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for providing your word as the “instruction manual” so I can know you and what you have for me more fully as you keep me on this side of eternity. I confess that too often I do not listen to the instructions you have for me in your word and from your voice. Please forgive the foolishness of seeking to live this life without listening to you and following your instructions. I ask you to help me in following every step of your lead so I pursue, find, embrace, and follow your instructions just as you intend. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you followed God’s instructions in the eternal sense so you have accepted His free and gracious provision of life eternally with Him when it is time? If no, why? What is keeping you from that? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with following God’s instructions for your life on this side of eternity? As well as you would like? As well as God would like? If you sense the need for fuller attention to His instructions, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?