by Christopher Harbin

Missing the Purpose
Christopher B. Harbin
Ex 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20; Ps 19; Matt 21:33-44; Phil 3:4b-14

Purpose is something that is easily altered or even thwarted. It has been said that over time institutions begin to exist for self-preservation. Over time, we forget what things stand for and why they were created. We forget historical purposes and lay our new rationale for those things we hold dear. We look at our vehicles as something other than replacements for horse and buggy transportation. We look at housing as much more than shelter from the elements. We look at sports as something other than recreation and friendly competition. We look at church as something other than a training ground for serving God. Have we thwarted or simply missed the purpose to which we were called to Christ Jesus?

Not too long ago, there was a big push to post the Ten Commandments in public spaces. The idea of some was that the nation was departing from God's will, due to relegating God further and further from the public, governmental sphere of life. Public recognition of God and sanctioned display of God's commandments would chart a corrective course. There is a greater point to God's instructions than their mere acknowledgement. Organizers knew this, but far too often the effort failed to get past the push for display with little true corrective action.

If we read today's text carefully, we may find that it lists more than ten commandments. Some read the text as nine commandments, some as many as fifteen, depending on how particularly we categorize or enumerate them. One or as many as four commandments regard the Sabbath. As many as three commandments regard the unique worship of Yahweh. Getting the number right, however, is just another rabbit to chase. Deuteronomy lists the commandments a little differently than Exodus, the Jews considered 613 commandments in the Torah, and Jesus summed them up in two. More important than numbering, posting, or memori ...

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