My brother, Nate, recently wrote while at the border of Hungary and Ukraine:
We are held up here at the border because they have to change all the wheels on the train. The Russian rails are built wider than European rails. Apparently the Russians after WWI decided that it would be in their interest to have a different rail system as it made an invasion more difficult. Paranoid? Maybe not. It was one of the reasons why Hitler had such a tough time advancing into Russia. Now, it is an economic headache that adds time and money to all imports and exports.
Mark 7:6,7—Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was prophesying about you when he said, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away. Their worship is a farce, for they replace God’s commands with their own man-made teachings.” (NLT)
When the Russians chose to make their rails wider it made sense. Suspicious of its western neighbors, the communists chose to act in a self-protecting way. Often actions we view much later as misguided were logical at the time of their inception. When the Jewish religious leaders added to the laws Moses established, their motives may have been noble. Concerned that people not violate Scripture, they added safeguards, more stringent requirements. Eventually the additives zealous priests and rabbis valued blurred the intent God meant for His original laws to accomplish. The acts and practices, the pronouncements and interpretations gave the Pharisees a sense of importance they didn’t need. These lovers of laws lost sight of their Lord.
Beware of venerating institutions. Widened tracks may bring security. But they may also block God’s train of blessing and subvert His will. Be careful what you spike to the ground! Do our rules bring us closer to God or do they make us feel safer? Do our practices bring glory to Jesus or do they burden seekers unnecessarily? For example, consider the church that says only the King James Version is acceptable. Is this making a wider track? What about those who insist that salvation can only be obtained by speaking in tongues? The lists go on, clickity-clack, clickity-clack . . .
The institutions of churchianity are not Christianity. An institution is a good thing if it is second; as soon as an institution recognizes itself it becomes the dominating force.—Oswald Chambers in Approved Unto God
©2002 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)