COURAGE TO KEEP THE RULES
By DANNY MINTON
Growing up one of the most popular games we played was Monopoly. There were times that a game would run for hours, eventually ending with no one winning. The first game we had used wooden houses, hotels, and markers. Later we had one that used plastic houses and hotels, and the markers were changed to metal pieces.
Today I own somewhere between 50 and 75 monopoly games. The majority are based on a theme. I have several that relate to Texas including one based on Abilene and one in the shape of the state of Texas. Another group has Christmas themes from “A Christmas Story” to “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Add to those a lot of specialty versions including the Beatles, Three Stooges, and the Dallas Cowboys.
Included are several versions of the original Monopoly. With all the different faces, street names and designs there is one common thread throughout all the different scenarios, the rules. The basic rules remain the same with a few changes in reference to the theme.
I have another collection in my home. This one has in the neighborhood of 40 to 50 different looks. Some are large and bulky while others are small enough to fit in my pocket. I have one in each car, on my desk, on shelves and packed in boxes. Some are old while others are new and some are in different languages. They are my Bibles.
So, what do the two collections have in common? The answer is “the rules.” Modern society says that the Bible is outdated. Times have changed, and the Bible is no longer relevant to today’s world. The call is to bring it out of its archaic world and bring it up to date. Times have changed.
In one way the Bible may be out of sync with the world. Sheep and goats mean little to a world where few are ranchers. Wheat fields and wine presses don’t relate to those who buy their bread in loaves and their wine in bottles. We don’t see lepers walking the streets and few donkeys along the roadside. True, times have changed and modernized. I’m sure if Jesus were to come today that he would use different examples.
But one thing hasn’t changed, Jesus Christ, his message and the way we are to live our lives. The Hebrew writer wrote, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” The message doesn’t change, love God first and love everyone else as you love yourself. The principles of the Word remain the same. Men are to love not to hate, we are to have compassion, care for everyone, fight evil and turn away from sin. The scenery may change, but the message remains.
The world wants us to change the rules. It’s been that way from the beginning when Satan in the form of a serpent enticed Eve to go against God’s rule. In return, Eve convinced Adam to do the same. From that time on things changed. People changed. Places changed. The world changed. Jesus did not.
The world can be like the serpent trying to convince us that God’s rules are selfish and ridiculous. It says that we need to change them and be open to what the world wants and not what the Bible says. After all, it’s archaic.
This is nothing new. Jesus faced it with the Pharisees. The apostles faced it everywhere they went. Stephen faced it, Paul faced it, and the early Christians faced it. The one thing they possessed was courage. Courage to stand up to the world and not allow the world to dictate life but keep God alive and active.
Today it takes courage to face a changing world. It takes courage to face a world that says our thinking is out of date. It takes courage to keep the rules when we are being demanded to accept change.
Do we as Christians have the courage to stand up for Jesus? Do we have the courage to keep God’s rules?
Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ