Last Tuesday was the unofficial start of school. It was the day all 700 plus Catholic School teachers from throughout the Diocese of Lansing gathered for the day to learn, pray and renew our purpose and our mission of forming young disciples. It’s a day I always look forward to and this year’s event left me with a treasure I just have to share. The gift was compliments of an amazing man of faith and truth named Dan Mattson. He was one of those presenters with a fabulously delivered message that leaves you changed.
I think something we all wrestle with in our Christian walk is sin and God’s laws. It’s easy to get discouraged and a little frustrated about God’s laws and how our human nature can make it so darn hard to live within them. We can sometimes look at his laws as restricting and stiff.
People have turned away from church thinking that if God really loved us he wouldn’t give us so many rules and regulations. To some, living his laws is like an intrusion on freedoms and pleasures. Dan gave an explanation so crystal clear and beautifully simple I’m going to repeat it to anyone who will listen!
Dan showed a slide of his rescue dog Sophie. He told us shortly after he got her, she ran away and he looked and looked but couldn’t find her anywhere. He didn’t know where she was and he couldn’t protect her. Sometime later he got a call from the Sherriff’s department telling him they had his Sophie. Unfortunately in her little getaway, she had been hit by a car. He nursed her back to health although some of her injuries never healed.
He used this story to illustrate the love and freedom of God’s laws. If Sophie had stayed inside the fence where she was safe, protected and cared for by her master, she wouldn’t have gotten hurt. For Sophie, that fence seemed like a barrier and a hindrance and she felt trapped. In an attempt to escape her restriction she ventured outside the protection and safety of the fence and the result was a disaster.
Our free will is what makes us want to jump the fence. We don’t always realize that if we live within God’s laws, we will be safe and protected by our Heavenly Master. If we’re inside the fence and we are living within the boundaries he has set for us we will remain close to him and he will meet all our needs. If we jump the fence and go outside his laws and his ways we are purposely separating ourselves from him and that is a recipe for disaster. We have a choice to sin or go beyond the boundaries of his loving protection and he will always open the gate and welcome us back after we’ve jumped the fence but the further we stray from the loving protection of his boundaries the more danger we encounter. Jumping the fence or sinning brings great consequences that can take a long time to heal and rob us of our peace. Living inside that fence we will find contentment and true freedom; the freedom that comes from no guilt, no worry, no consequences and complete understanding that you are being lovingly protected and cared for. Inside the fence is the best place to be!
A Seed To Plant: Sit for a few quiet minutes and imagine yourself living contently inside a lush beautiful yard surrounded by a fence. Sit with the knowledge that you have everything you need and there is no danger or stress. Soak up the peacefulness and safety of that surrounding. Now think about the things that tempt you to jump that fence and separate yourself from that place. Ask your loving Master to help you overcome that temptation to step outside the protection of his laws.
God bless your day!
Copyright 2014, Sheri Wohlfert