What will I be doing on July 4th of every year: Going to my parent’s lake house for their annual party. What will I be doing on Thanksgiving afternoon of every year: Going to the movies. What will I be doing every other Christmas Eve: Going to the candlelight Christmas Eve service at Johnson’s Ferry Baptist Church. What will I be eating for my mom’s birthday dinner every year: Japanese Steakhouse.
Are you wondering how I know all of these things so far in advance…probably not if you in any way understand the importance of tradition. Sometimes, as is the case with my brother, people hold holiday traditions more securely than the holidays themselves! Tyler knows the exact meal that my mom is going to prepare for Thanksgiving dinner, and any variation in food groups is not permitted without just cause. And he is far from the only one who takes tradition so seriously.
“You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!” – NIV
I have to wonder: What’s wrong with a little tradition? In the book of Mark, Jesus is found to condemn traditional practices so easily in the face of the Pharisees even though much of the law is built upon such customs. Is Jesus condemning the law? Of course not.
While it was true that most of the Pharisee observances were based on biblical tradition, this was not the case for all of their practices. The remainder was simply a historical fabrication on behalf of sinful pride. In this case, there was nothing wrong with tradition, but when it was mistaken for divine inspiration, it became a problem.
I read somewhere that, like the Pharisees, American culture takes the holy traditions of the Bible and picks and chooses what we are going to implement in our religious lives. We profoundly defend the authority of the Kingdom, but neglect its founding principles. In a sense, we tend to major on the minor issues and minor on the major ones.
It is one thing to know our Heavenly Father, it is quite another to live as though He’s never there.