Mary Poppins ranks as one of my favorite movies of all time. Call me a nerd, I don’t care!
My favorite scene occurs at the end of the movie when newly recovered workaholic George Banks invites his children to join him in flying a kite. The scene always moves me to tears.
With springtime in the air, we’re entering kite flying season. I’m not a physics whiz, but have you ever considered how kites stay in the air? Obviously, they need wind and a tail. But they also need a string. You’d think that by letting go of the string, the kite would soar even higher—but that isn’t the case. Let go of the string and your kite will fall to the ground. But hang on to the string—even tug it—and the kite will soar higher.
The thing that holds the kite up in the air is the thing that ties it down.
Believe it or not, that summarizes today’s daily conversation.
Please join me!
INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS
Deuteronomy 5-6:25. Horeb is another name for Mt. Sinai.
In this section, Moses recounts the heart of the covenant between God and Israel by reciting the 10 Commandments (the first time they’re mentioned is in Exodus 20:2-17). This time while reading through them, I noticed something interesting in Moses’ instructions regarding keeping the Sabbath in verse 15. He reminds Israel, “Remember that you were slaves.” What does that have to do with the Sabbath? When Israel worked for Egypt as slaves, they labored seven days a week. They never enjoyed a day off for rest, hence, work was bondage. The Sabbath, then, celebrates Israel’s freedom from slavery.
This gives me pause to consider the power that work can play on any individual. Working seven days a week is slavery. Bondage. Taking a break from work is one way we can declare to ourselves and everyone that our jobs are not our masters. This is something I need to seriously consider, because pastoring and writing gravitate toward requiring seven days a week.
Luke 7:11-17. The widow in the story was truly in a difficult place. She had no husband to support her and then her only other source of provision—her son—had died. Notice that Jesus touched the coffin, rendering him defiled the rest of the day.
Psalm 68:19-35. If you have time, meditate on verse 19 for a moment: “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.” Every day, God bears our burdens. Imagine what your life would look like if he didn’t bear your burdens.
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THE WORD MADE FRESH
“Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always,
so that it might go well with them and their children forever!”
This passage of Scripture expresses God’s desire for us. He wants our lives to go well. Moses reiterates this in Deuteronomy 6:3: “Be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey.”
God wants you to thrive–believe it!
This reminds me that because God loves us, he only desires good for us. But notice that his words were spoken within the context of obeying his commands. In fact, his words immediately follow the listing of the Ten Commandments.
This tells me that the law wasn’t intended to serve as a means to restrict Israel’s joy, it was intended to enhance it. Oftentimes what we regard as “freedom” is really bondage in disguise. And some “restrictions” actually open the door to greater freedom.
Like the string on a kite, the thing that keeps you up in the air is the thing that ties you down—and obedience to God is the string.
Sometime today, I encourage you to take a moment to ask God, In what areas of my life are you calling me into greater obedience?
I could offer you different options on what obedience might mean for you, but I think that would counteract the process. God created you to fly, but in order to fly you need something to tie you down.
I’m not advocating legalism. Danger lies on either end of obedience—living an overly restrictive life or with too much license.
If you want to fly, then pay close attention to what holds you down.
- What spoke to you in today’s reading?
- How have you experience freedom through obedience to God?
- How have you experienced bondage through your freedoms?
- How is God calling you to obey?
- What would your life look like if God didn’t bear your daily burdens?
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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado.