“Mommy…” I hear the warning tone of his voice across the sunroom. “It’s Sunday, you know…you’re not supposed to be on the computer on the Sabbath day, right?” It’s true. It’s Sunday, and one of my Sabbath “rules” is no technology. And there I am, sitting at my desk in the corner of the sunroom with my laptop open as Noah walks up behind me.
I’m writing a letter to Pedro, the Bolivian boy we sponsor through Compassion. I haven’t written to him since August, but the sermon I just heard in church, about putting faith into action, has prompted me to come home, sit down at my desk and write the letter I’ve been procrastinating for months.
Truth be told, writing to the children we sponsor isn’t my favorite activity. Often it feels like a chore, mostly because I don’t know what to say. What do I have in common with a five-year-old boy I’ve never met, a boy who speaks Spanish and lives in dire poverty? I’m not even sure I could pinpoint Bolivia on a map.
So yes, technically Noah is right. I am breaking my own Sabbath rules. Not only am I on my computer, I’m also doing what I would consider a task, a chore. I am working.
Yet like I explained to Noah, I also know it’s the right thing to do. I care about Pedro. I pray for him, worry about him, think about his family. His picture sits on my desk, right above my computer, so I can look at his huge brown eyes every day. So while writing to Pedro is a chore in some ways, it’s also a good deed, an act of worship, an activity that honors God and feeds my love and compassion for this boy I’ve never met.
“I have a question for you,” Jesus said to the Pharisees, who accused him of breaking the Sabbath by healing a man’s deformed hand. “Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save a life or destroy it?” (Luke 6:9)
Sometimes, like the Pharisees, we miss seeing the forest through the trees when we focus too closely on the legalistic side of Sabbath and other spiritual practices. Those of us who are rule-followers, like me, are especially guilty of this. I’ve always been a “good girl.” I’ve always followed the rules. I like rules. They keep me honest and on track. But they can also keep me from seeing and understanding the big picture.
I’m glad I broke the Sabbath last Sunday. Because even though it was work, it was good work. And that letter to Pedro? In some small way, it may help save his life.
Has rule-following ever inhibited you from seeing the big picture in your faith?
And with Jen at Rich Faith Rising:
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