Monday, July 16, 2007

Luke #13 – Simple Obedience

Luke #13 – Simple Obedience

“Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her. And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. And his mother answered and said, ‘Not so; but he shall be called John.’ And they said unto her, ‘There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name’” (Luke 1:57-71 – King James Version).

I have a friend named Pam Cagle that is one of the finest Christians and finest human beings I know. I love to give her a hard time about whatever I can think of that will make either her or me laugh. One of my favorite things is the way Pam drives. Now you may think that she is a bad driver by that previous comment; actually, it’s just the opposite of that. Pam is a very careful driver. So careful in fact that she WILL NOT exceed the posted speed limit. (Having been behind her on the road before I don’t think she is in danger of REACHING the posted speed limit!)

One really has to know Pam to appreciate why she drives that way. Pam does not want to break the law; it’s as simple as that to her. I think Pam takes that Romans 13 (be subject to the authorities) thing seriously. She has a humble nature and an obedient life. Though I like to pick on Pam, I admire her obedience. Her husband picks on her about it; her daughter picks on her about it; Pam doesn’t care…she just obeys the law.

Now some may think Pam could be likened unto a Pharisee (she has called herself that jokingly before). To assume Pam is pharisaical or to imply it seriously would be an indication that the accuser does not know her at all. She is an intelligent, caring, giving, serving, and gracious woman of God. Pam loves Jesus; for that I hold her in high esteem and am honored to call her a friend. I hope to one day be half the Christian she is. I would imagine that her simple obedience has been BUILT one step at a time; I try to remember and emulate that so that one day I may be obedient to our Lord like Pam already is.

I bet Pam and Elisabeth would have made fast friends. When Elisabeth’s term of pregnancy was completed, she had a son (just as the angel had said she would). It was very traditional to name Jewish children after someone in the family; especially naming boys after their fathers. Imagine all Elisabeth’s neighbors’ surprise to find that she did not intend to name the new baby after the father, but wanted to name him John. This, too, was a matter of simple obedience. The angel said to name the baby John and that’s exactly what Elisabeth intended to do (Luke 1:13).

Now here’s our lesson in all of this…Elisabeth’s neighbors probably thought she was strange. Elisabeth obviously cared more about obeying God than pleasing those around her. Could the same be said of us?

How about those opportunities we have to earn money and not pay taxes on that money? Do we feel a need to report it? Do we feel guilt about not reporting it? We should! In Jesus words: “And He said unto them, ‘Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's’” (Luke 20:25 – KJV). Things like this should be a matter of simple obedience. Does the government need our money? In some cases, yes. In others, no. That’s not the point. Does the government get enough taxes from us? Well, I certainly believe they do! That’s not the point. The point is simple obedience.

Trust me; if we are obedient in the simple things God will give us opportunities to be obedient in much bigger things. Pam Cagle is an example of that for me. Elisabeth is an example of that for me. I hope one day to be an example for others to follow. How about you? We should all gauge every decision by the leading of the Spirit, the authority and direction of the Word, and with the presumption that we will act in simple obedience to whatever God tells us to do.

Driving the speed limit; paying taxes; tithing; praying; fasting; not making decisions in a worldly manner…all of these things will cause those around us to think we are strange. The question is “Do we love God enough to risk being thought strange or different?” This, too, is a matter of simple obedience.

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