The Lost Art of Following the Rules

I was watching my son play basketball this morning when the youth pastor in charge came to the microphone during half time. He very kindly requested that people not bring food or drinks into the building. I wondered at his having to say it — there were signs posted at every door. The rules were clear. Then I looked next to me. A woman had with her a thermos of coffee. I looked across from me, a player had a sports drink by his feet. And even after the youth pastor finished his request, those drinks remained. The rule was ignored.

Does it really matter? You may ask. That’s a stupid rule. Kids are playing basketball, sweating. They need the electrolytes. Parents are tired from a long work week. They need coffee. I get it.

But here’s the thing: In life, we don’t get to choose which rules to follow and which we don’t. We don’t get to say, “That’s stupid, so I don’t have to do it.” We are not the supreme authority.

But we act that way, don’t we? I don’t like this rule. I think it’s stupid. It inconveniences me.

It may sound extreme. Maybe even legalistic. But I think following rules is important. Not just the “big” rules. Not just the ones we think are worth following, but all the rules.

I believe we honor God when we honor the authorities he has placed over us. Even when we disagree. Even when those authorities enforce rules that annoy or inconvenience us. I believe it helps us to deny ourselves, to be reminded that we don’t always get to do what we want when we want. I believe we are better, stronger, kinder people when we follow rules.

What do you think? Do you think following the rules is important? Are there certain rules that are okay to ignore?

1 Comment

  1. Carol Gehringer
    Jan 19, 2013

    I agree — rules are important . . . I try to stress to my children that rules are the boundaries set for us. God gave us the 10 Commandments, not the 10 Suggestions. They are for our health and welfare, not just because God wanted us to do or not do something.

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