Don’t throw out the manual.
The device arrived in a box in a million pieces. I grabbed the instruction manual and begin to slowly identify all the components necessary to make this incredibly simple mechanism work properly. An hour later (and after a few curse words) the hose was spooled and I was laughing at how complicated it was to assemble the darn thing.
If you are like most men, instruction manuals can be optional. They certainly serve a purpose, but they can also seem to slow you down. I wonder what the author of an instruction manual thinks about his or her readers? At the heart of assembling anything are the many parts that must be properly placed or assembled in sequence for the final product to even function. The author must see the end product. All the while, they must break down the necessary steps to achieve it.
So, in Matthew 22:34-40 when Jesus corrects scholars of the scriptures and tells them that the sum of all their study and research can be understood in two simple commandments, you can imaging there was probably a bit of resentment. These were men that loved their manuals. Every word was sacred. Every idea was slowly digested and described in excessive detail over many years of study and exposition. Sadducees like the law. This is an understatement.
The laws were the life of the Israelite people. They were God’s gifts of assured process and ordered care. They were an extension of him to them.
They still are.
Love God. Love neighbor.
Our creator wants us to revel in his creation…both the earth and humanity. Getting caught up in the instructions can lead us away from the vision of the final product…love.
As believers we should deeply invest into knowledge of scripture and tradition but we should never lose sight of the vision for creation Love. As Christ teaches, the whole law and the prophets depend on it.
Love today. Invest in understanding the instruction that is scripture. Get to know your neighbor. Emphasize the final product. Put the pieces together and be mastered by the father’s vision for you and all of humanity.