Her skinny, bony fingers moved slowly towards the black game piece. After carefully lifting the piece, the old woman’s hand put the piece down on another square of the board. “Checkmate,” said Mrs. Weber, and she smiled as she winked at 17-year-old Sonja O’Toole. “I finally beat you you young whippersnapper! Yahoo!”
Sonja nodded slowly. She had seen the end coming but had not been able to stop it. She looked up at her chess partner and found she could not resist returning the smile. Mrs. Weber had just turned 95 but she was a match for anyone when it came to chess.
As she watched Mrs. Weber struggle to get up from her chair to get them a snack of milk and cookies, Sonja fought her urge to get it herself. She knew Mrs. Weber was an intelligent, proud woman who, throughout her life, loved to serve people whenever she could.
“There,” she said, at last bring a half-full pitcher of milk. “Just a minute and I’ll get us some Oreo and chocolate chip cookies. They’re store bought, you know. I’m afraid I can’t bake really good cookies anymore like I used to.”
“Thanks for the snack and for the chess game, Mrs. Weber,’ Sonja said as she opened the solid oak door to head for home. “We’ll continue our chess battle the same time next week.”
Friday night the telephone rang. “Hey, Sonja, I’m throwing a huge party at my house for Renee tomorrow. She just moved in next door to us the other day. It’s going to be a surprise. I’ve invited everyone. So everyone is going to be there.”
No sooner had Sonja hung up the telephone than she remembered Mrs. Weber. “Oh, no! Great timing! They had to hold the party right when I’m supposed to play chess with Mrs. Weber!”
Quickly she headed for her younger twin sisters’ bedroom. “Can one of you do me a special favor and play chess with Mrs. Weber tomorrow?
Jenny shook her head. “I’ve got cheerleading practice, sis.”
Sonja turned desperately to Jane, but she just frowned. “Sonja, I wish I could help you, but I already arranged t go shopping with mom.”
“Can’t you change that?” she plead. Hearing no answer, Sonja closed the door loudly and went to her room. It wasn’t that she mind playing chess with the neighbor lady. But a party would be more fun. She started downstairs to call Mrs. Weber. “She can get along without me just this one time,” she thought.
But she saw in her mind’s eye a picture of Mrs. Weber and her old face brighten up when she saw her at the door. She knew how long the days were for her, and how lonely she was and would be. Although she didn’t feel good about the choice, she sat the telephone down then thought about her choices. She knew that the sight of Mrs. Weber rubbing her cheerful hands together would make her choice to keep her appointment was worthwhile though difficult.
Sometimes being a Christian faithful to the teachings of Christ is often not an easy choice though the correct one when Christ calls us to do a task or keep a scheduled appointment with Him. When Christ, who is God, calls us to respond to His call, He is doing more than giving us fuzzy laws and rules. God has given humankind clear, easy to follow laws and rules for living. Humankind makes them difficult with our interpretations and establishing human traditions supposedly based on His laws and rules. Cod has commanded us to love God, to love our neighbor, to forgive, to reconcile our differences with others, and to stop being selfish (me oriented). God’s laws and rules may not be our first choice nor easy once accepted. But trust in God, an understanding that He know exactly what He is doing, and that everything will be alright can be difficult.
Laws and rules no matter how easy or simple they are generally do not excite people. So many people, for whatever reasons, believe laws and rules are threatening. They believe laws and rules, especially God’s, will reduce their freedoms and the ability to enjoy life, as they see it. But God’s laws and rules are nothing more than plans to help people live happy, healthy lives. Everyday life presents us with a myriad of examples of fulfillment when God’s laws and rules are followed. If someone plays in a basketball game, the rules must be followed if the participating players are to be safe and play in a fair manner. Injuries, anger and other violations occur when participants attempt to break these rules or manipulate them in such a manner that harm others. The more the rules are followed, the smoother the game tends to be.
It is the same with following Christ. The laws and rules are there to help us. The more we work at following them, the more closely we can follow Him and the happier life will be!
This is why II Corinthians 11:3 says "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." Serving Christ is SIMPLE. There are but two laws that, if we abide by them, all the others just fall into place. We have to remember that simplicity! Matthew 22: 37Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Excellent article!!