A friend gave me her vacuum cleaner as part of a downsizing move. Replacing my nearly 50-year old warhorse vacuum has been quite an adventure in upgrading. Who knew there were so many attachments and ways to clean far more than just floors? What fun it will be to use the rug shampooing system instead of renting a machine! The owner’s manual has become my current important reading: how to move the machine when the motor is off without damaging the rollers. Who knew!?
I have been thinking about those who see rules as spoilers to our fun and freedom. The immature often see laws as an imposition. What if we saw law and rules instead as a kind of owner’s manual, a pamphlet outlining “for best results” procedures?
That is how the Psalmist sings about the Law of God in Psalm 19. That is how Leviticus 19 sees the Law of God in its detailed applications to real life. Conforming our behaviors and attitudes to the will of God is a good way to live: it matches how we were made. Not an imposition on our freedom or our good times, the will of God is like an owner’s manual. For best results, live this way!
In that final parable in Matthew 25 the great comfort for the church is that God’s final verdict will vindicate those who stood with the suffering and marginal in the world. We who live so often as a small and counter-cultural force in society will see at last that it is good for the will of God to be done here on earth as it is in heaven.