The Law, The Pharisees and Rules

Do you ever just shake your head over some of the rules you find in business, or other parts of life for that matter. They just don’t make any sense. What sort of dummy would ever dream up some of these silly, but restricting rules?

The Pharisees were the interpreters and keepers of Mosaic Law. Don’t you suppose many, probably most, of the “commoners” in Jewish communities just shook their heads over some of these rules and how they were interpreted and applied? They had to ask “what sort of dummy would ever dream up some of these silly, restricting rules?”

A few years ago I was working in a retail store selling expensive specialty goods. Now, in many retail establishments, overtime is an absolute no-no. (Sorta like doing work on the Sabbath) I had a store manager who would stretch us to our allowed weekly hours by Thursday or Friday, then couldn’t understand why we were not available to work when the customers came on weekends. Afterall, he would argue, the week’s preparation was all to get ready to take care of the customer, customer service. This fellow was a really smart guy! What a dummy.

One night, the last of the work week, I was concluding a MAJOR sale just before closing. This particular sale accounted for over 10% of the store’s total weekly sales. It was a big deal for a very good customer. BUT, I worked 15 minutes of overtime.

Now, I could have clocked out, concluded the sale and all would have been fine. But the previous week I had been “written up” and put on probation for working off the clock for doing the very same thing. I was in a bit of a pickle. So I finished the sale and clocked out about 10 minutes late (we rounded to the nearest qtr hour). It was a “gotcha” moment.

First thing when I arrived at work the next day, I was called into the manager’s office. “You worked overtime. Zero overtime means zero overtime.”

I tried to explain to him just what had happened, even pulled up the previous night’s sales reports.

“Zero overtime means zero overtime.” I got written up.

I asked for some training. ‘Boss, I need you to teach me how to look in a customer’s eyes and tell him ‘screw you, I’m going home.'”

He didn’t like that much, thought I was being surly. Guess he was right.

I left that job soon after. You see, I never got the requested training.

Guess Jesus was a bit surly with the Pharisees, too. He didn’t wash His hands when He was supposed to. He performed work on the Sabbath. He basically called them a bunch of dummies. (Isnt’ that a synonym for hypocrite?)

Jesus was particularly hard on the Pharisees, much more so than the Sadducees. The Pharisees were the experts, keepers and interpreters of The Law. They were the “rule makers.” They kept a close eye on the rules while totally ignoring the reason behind the rules. “Judgement rather than justice” under The Law. More than anyone, the Pharisees should have known better. Dumb, dumb, dumb!

We all have rules. We either follow them or enforce them.

But we should never forget what the rule is all about.

Shalom, Art
Alive in the Word

About aliveintheword

Missouri, USA Married to Marty, 45 years 2 sons (with 2 daughers-in-law) and 2 granddaughters Life dedicated to serving Jesus Christ and delivering the Good News
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16 Responses to The Law, The Pharisees and Rules

  1. Pingback: Matt 16:13-20 | easternhillsblog

  2. writinggomer says:

    Excellent!!! Oh how I wish people would wake up and realize this central truth. The Gospel of Christ is not a legal document. It is a guide for our lives, number one “rule”… one another.

    • AMEN!

      I can explore the depths and complexities of Christianity as well as most. but asked to explain my faith and how I try to live it, I can do so in three phrases:

      1: Love one another.
      2: Spread the Good News.
      (Both commands) and
      3: “If you love me, you will obey My commands.”

      It’s really that simple!

      Shalom, Art

  3. ptl2010 says:

    As an auditor who was monitoring compliance in the workplace for many years, laws and rules it is generally agreed are made to be broken. We should be their masters and not let them be the master. Flexibility must afford common-sense exceptions else we become slaves to paranoia.

    • If only common sense weren’t so rare. Rigid enforcement of rules often becomes a crutch to thinking and taking responsibility/accountability for applying common sense. Jesus’ example to the Pharisees about saving the ox that had fallen into a hole on the Sabbath is such a good example.

      • ptl2010 says:

        Totally agree. That flexibility was the difference between WIN WIN audits and audits which failed to fulfil the purpose of optimizing controls in the workplace.

  4. April says:

    AMEN! I have worked retail and could relate!
    Great post and thoughts!

  5. remso says:

    I too work in retail. Enjoyed the post, and I am not a legalist.

  6. Steven Sawyer says:

    Reblogged this on …all for God's Glory and commented:

    Note: This is a great blog from a fellow blogger friend who cuts right to the chase about legalists. How true. How true.

  7. MAY I REBLOG THIS ON MY BLOG? CONGRATULATIONS! This message is right on the money. Spot on. Bullseye. You have called attention to one of the most prevailing obstacles many disciples of Jesus encounter as they try to understand and apply the true Gospel message. Many are so concerned with following rules to gain God’s acceptance when they already have it. They pray 15 minutes each day, read one chapter in the Bible religiously each day, go to church every time they open the doors and on and on. Many of these devoutely “religious” people miss Jesus’ message of love and hope. They live by rules rather than by relationship. These same folks who miss the message are the same folks I try to reach with my blog as well.
    In my opinion, we need to share this message with “religious” believers almost as much as we need to share the True message of the Gospel with non-believers.
    Excellent, excellent message. I’m so glad I read this. You have made my day. Keep blogging, and may God richly bless your writng and blogging efforts.

    • Thank you Steven. I’m deeply honored. And thank you for adding so much to this blog. The relationship is all important!

      Please feel free to reblog or use anything I write as you see fit. “By the rules,” all of my blogs go into the public domain. I’m just the often reluctant messenger. The message comes from a MUCH higher, well placed source!

      Shalom, Art

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