The other day I sat down on the couch to watch a movie and realized I had four remote controls for the task! One for the television, one for the DVD player (which I really didn’t need, but grabbed anyway because it seems I always need the one I don't pick up), one for the cable box, and one for the game system that accesses the movies. Another time I had plopped down on the couch (where there is barely any room with all the remotes spread out) and couldn't access the movie provider and realized that my wireless internet connection wasn't working! So I had to get up and reset the router hoping that would resolve the problem.
What's worse is trying to watch television at someone else's house. Have you ever been asked to turn on a friend's television and a cold sweat comes over you when they hand you the remotes? There's a one in a thousand chance that I'll be able to figure it out.
When did watching television become so difficult? It has become so complicated that sometimes it's easier just to give up!
Reading through Chapter 5 in The Story I realized that there was a lot missing. It includes the Ten Commandments but simply summarizes all the other laws with a brief little paragraph. Now, I'm not bashing this edition of the Bible but just want to point out that the Law was very complicated. That's why many people bog down in their Bible reading when they come to the book of Leviticus. It's just so complicated it's easier just to give up!
I think the Jews felt my frustration as well. Some, like the Pharisees, became masters of the remotes. They knew all the right buttons to press and even added a few new ones of their own. But many seemed to get lost in all the details of the Law, especially when the Pharisees made religion even more difficult than it had to be.
So I find it very comforting when an expert in the Law comes to Jesus and asks him what is the greatest commandment it. What button is most important? Which remote should I always have at hand? What command says it all?
Jesus' simple reply is, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
He takes all the Law and boils it down to two commandments! Wow.
I think a lot of people give up on religion because they see it as this complex system of rules and regulations. They think of church and God and a cold sweat overtakes them because they know there's a one in a thousand chance that they'll be able to get it right. Some think that a relationship with God is just too complicated when in actuality Jesus says it's quite simple.
Christianity doesn't necessitate an advanced degree. It doesn't require hours of training. You don’t have to know ancient languages. You don’t have to memorize tricky words. All you need to do is love God and love those around you. Now, we all know that's not an easy task, but at least we can get a handle on it!