Summary: Based upon the book "Three Simple Rules" "A Wesley Way of Living" by Rueben P. Job. This is a review of what we’ve learned over the past six weeks of the series. It concludes with a though provoking, challenging question.
Three Simple Rules (Part Seven) Review & Conclusion
For the past six weeks we’ve been exploring what it means to live by the “Three Simple Rules” as preached and practiced by John Wesley, as published in the United Methodist Book of Discipline, and explained and expanded in the book “Three Simple Rules, a Wesleyan Way of Living” written by Ruben P. Job.
We began by talking about rules. Rules. Generally speaking, when we hear the word “rules” we have a tendency to put up our guard. Generally speaking, we really don’t like the concept of “rules.” At least when they apply to us or when we are required to live by some rule that somehow restricts or restrains us… such as obeying speed limits, or how about this one, paying taxes? On the other hand, when someone else is “violating” a rule, especially if it’s a rule that affords us some personal benefit or protection, we are quick to point out his or her violation!
Therefore, we understand the world, our culture, our families… all have rules, and without rules, our world would be in anarchy, chaos. Nevertheless, rules, regulations and such must be reasonable, and within our human ability to comply. More importantly, rules, if they are to be beneficial to all, to the community, must be humane.
Unfortunately, in the reality of the world today, we can find too many places where the “rules” are rules of abuse and cruelty. When the government leaders impose these kinds of rules, which all too often are intended for personal gain, anarchy, chaos follow.
We have explored another reality. I pray we have come to understand there are three simple rules that have the power to change the world. These rules have been around since ancient times, yet, seldom fully tested. When, and where practiced, they changed the world of things as they were. Changed and shaken until a new formation, a new world came to be... The Wesleyan movement is a prime example of this new creation, formed when these three simple rules were and can be today, adopted as a way of living.
We acknowledge we live in a crazy world. How the world has changed over the years. It truly is a “world economy.” We have access to world events unfolding as they happen. It is a fast –paced and complex world and we can easily buy into the belief that we’re trapped into being someone we do not want to be…not living the life we desire. During these past weeks, I pray we can begin at least, to realize we can be a part of the solution not the problem. There is a way to overcome the stuff that causes disagreement and/or hostility, the kind of stuff that separates, sometimes makes fun of us, disrespects, diminishes and leaves us wounded and feeling incomplete.
When asked which commandment was the most important, Jesus responded… “you shall love the Lord you God with all your heart, and with all you soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” The second is this. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”…There is not other commandment greater than these.”
In Jesus’ words, we find the foundation and instruction for the faithful and good life of every age. Jesus command is both simple and profound…. His words describe the very foundation of what it takes to be a disciple of Jesus
We now understand how the words sound easy, and how we understand them without difficulty… yet…. We also realize the actions they command are indeed challenging! None-the-less, that commandment remains a guide to the highest form of faithfulness and continues today, to hold the promise of a way of life both rewarding and fruitful in furthering God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven…
John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, in a time much like our own today realized the importance of Jesus commandment... He took this blueprint, put it into simple terms, three simple rules, taught it, and practiced it. Now… it is up to us to see if we will take it, teach it, and practice it until it becomes our natural way of living… a way of living that will mark our lives together and our lives as individual Christians.
Before we are Methodist, or any other Christian denomination, we are Christians! This understanding is essential to follow Jesus commandment. Some already practice this way of living, and I believe many more are ready to try it. The task sounds easy. However, the challenge, the challenge to follow these three rules is difficult indeed.
Three simple rules: 1 – Do No Harm.
2 – Do Good
3 – Stay In Love With God.
So the question for us this morning is: What have we learned? Are we really measuring up to our calling as “children of God?” Are we discovering a better way for us to practice our faith? A way so simple and yet substantial that none are turned away and all are able to practice as together we pursue our quest for faithful living. Are we the living answer to the prayer of Jesus…? “Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.