Running has few rules.  If you cross the start and finish lines and stay on course, you won’t be disqualified, fouled out, yellow-carded or handed a penalty.  Finishing is an accomplishment and means as much to most runners as a win does to the players of a team sport.  During a recent marathon, I saw a runner take a shortcut.  He probably shaved only 30-45 seconds off his time, but it was a shortcut nonetheless.  He wasn’t positioned to place overall or in his age group, but it appeared he intended to finish.  I don’t know his name or race number and couldn’t pick him out in a lineup.  No one but he knows of the shortcut, and I wonder why he did it.  I realize he wasn’t feeling his best at mile 21, but did the footsteps he dodged make a difference?  Was it worth it?  Does it matter?

For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life, Proverbs 6:23

Rules get a bad rap.  They can come across as restrictive with an aura of negativity.  I rarely hear anyone celebrate speed limits, calorie counting, the tax code, or nighttime curfews.  Just like anything, however, you can’t judge a rule by its cover.  Rules thoughtfully imposed by a legitimate authority can provide order, guidance, comfort, protection, happiness, and freedom.  While our kids despise their bedtime, I hope they find some comfort in knowing we care about their well-being.  Stingy calorie counts seem depressing, but they pave the way to health.  I’m struggling to celebrate the tax code, so I’ll leave that to you.  Man-made laws are constantly morphing because we can’t get them just right.  As times change, so do the rules.  However, God’s Ten Commandments are perfect and fitting for all time and every person, and they provide a path to happiness and peace.  If I would simply stick to His rules, I’d be radiating peace instead of searching for it.  I unfortunately let distractions muddle my discernment of what God wants me to do under His law, but His voice is there if I listen.  Just as I’m called to follow God’s commands, I’m called to follow the laws of my governing authorities … employers, governments, religion, sports, etc.  I may not like all the rules to which I’m subject, but I must abide by them if I’ve chosen to be part of the body they govern.  If I want change, I need to get off my seat and act.  It may seem like an insurmountable mountain, but all things are possible with God.  As I write this, I realize I’m parked in a space I probably shouldn’t be.  I’m breaking a rule – yet again – and my need for constant prayer and forgiveness rears its ugly head once more …

Dear God, thank you for Your Ten Commandments; please help me see them as a source of light and peace.