Sometimes obeying the rules can open doors

You’ve never seen a stranger collection of odds and ends than at a trade show. I have to admit, I’m really eager to go to a trade show in a different industry to see if they’re all the same. Plumbing and heating trade shows are full of truly interesting people, all passionate about their craft and dedicated to a job well done.

I’m in marketing, so we’re all about looks. To be honest, though, not many booths here at AHR really stood out as spectacular. Nothing really wowed me. But what I did notice is the “No Photography” signs. The signs stood out to me, mostly, beause nobody was paying attention. Members of the press, competitors, and other industry professionals were taking photos all over the place, and nobody was stopping them.

It’s one thing to have a rule. It’s something else to enforce it.

You probably realized by now that I was taking photos too, although I wasn’t going into booths and photographing products. I was looking for examples of booth design and particularly catchy headlines. But if the rules are the rules, why weren’t they being enforced? If the rules are the rules, why wasn’t anyone following them? Even I broke the rules because it suited me better than to obey.

GX8A0450Today’s verses are 1 Timothy 3:14-15.

I am writing these things to you now, even though I hope to be with you soon, so that if I am delayed, you will know how people must conduct themselves in the household of God. This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth.

I struggle with my attitude sometimes. I’ve always had a bit of a rebellious streak, and I don’t do a very good job concealing it. Sometimes I do things because I want to do them, rather than because they’re the right thing to do. Sometimes I ignore the rules because the rules are silly–or at least, I think the rules are silly.

And, yes, some rules are ridiculous. But rules are rules. Even though rules may not allow us to do the things we want to do, they exist for a reason.

We used to live in a culture that would respect rules simply because they were there. They didn’t have to be enforced. People had enough character to obey without enforcement. That sort of culture doesn’t really exist anymore. Not in the United States, at least.

I know what some folks are thinking. If the rule is stupid or harmful or ridiculous, why obey it? Because you can trust every rule that’s out there, sort of like you can’t trust the rule makers. The politicians are only out to get more power, and that’s why they make the rules they make. It’s the same with everyone else in authority, generally, isn’t it? The people in power make rules to benefit themselves at the cost of the “little people.”

Maybe that’s a jaded view, but don’t you know people who see life that way? And if you see life from that perspective, it’s easy to understand why our culture bucks the system and breaks the rules.

But what if you can trust the rule maker? What if you can trust the one who’s setting down the law? Wouldn’t you obey their laws if you know it was for your own good?

Sometimes I think we forget how good God is. It’s easy to forget because people are such narrow-minded creatures. We think because God doesn’t give us what we want that He’s not good or that He’s denying us our happiness somehow, and that’s not the case. If God ever withholds something from us, it’s because He has something better planned.

But just because God doesn’t let you have your way right now doesn’t mean He’s good. I mean, think about it. If your parents let you have everything you wanted when you were little, how would you have turned out? If you never had to struggle for anything, if you never had to work for a reward, if you never had to apply yourself, what kind of person would you grown into? Not one I’d enjoy hanging around, I’d wager.

God has rules, and because God is good, God’s rules are good. And He has gone to outrageous lengths to help us know His rules and why they’re important. So don’t fight God’s rules just because they’re rules. Not all rules are bad. And who knows? Maybe obeying a rule will open doors for you that breaking a rule might have shut.