He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him. - John 14:21 (NASB)

A tzaddik was approached by a young construction worker seeking reassurance that he was on the right path. When the elder gently pointed out sins the young man was contentedly living with, he was answered, “Yeah, I know that those are probably sins, but I attend church, and I provide for my wife and I don’t steal. Surely in the end God will accept me.”

The tzaddik countered, “I would like to work for you for a day.” The young man was bemused by the request but agreed.

The tzaddik showed up late and said, “I know I’m late, but it’s ok. I brought a big lunch!” The owner had no idea how one was related to the other but decided to let it go.

He gave the tzaddik instructions to clean up some debris. But when he came back, every bit of garbage was still sitting on the ground. The owner bit his tongue as the elder excused himself, “I didn’t get the garbage picked up like you asked, but I did build a good lunch table!”

The owner asked the tzaddik to plumb a wall with a 4-foot level. Instead, the tzaddik used a 6” torpedo level. Of course, the wall leaned terribly. The owner was fuming internally and barely managed to control himself.

On and on it went. Everything the holy man was told to do was left undone. He always did something different instead.

Finally, the young construction worker could take no more. He roared his disapproval, calling the tzaddik disobedient, rebellious and completely inept. The tzaddik smiled at him and said, “Now you know how God feels when you choose to replace His will with your own.”

God says, “I want you to attend church.[1]” We respond, “But that’s my only day to sleep in!”

God says, “I want you to love your brothers and sisters in Christ and consider them to be greater than yourself[2].” We respond, “But they are just not meeting my needs at that church!”

God says, “The only way to heaven is to accept my beloved Son as your Lord and Savior.[3]” We respond, “Isn’t that a bit arrogant? Surely there is one truth but many paths to that truth!”

Any parent will tell you that the clearest and easiest way for a child to demonstrate love for the parent is through obedience. Jesus was very clear as to his love language. He told us, “If you love me, keep my commandments.[4]”

Don’t claim to be a Christian, a disciple of Christ, a Christ lover and refuse to obey Him. Every time you obey Him, you are saying, “I love you.” Say it often.

[1] Hebrews 10:24-25

[2] Philippians 2:3

[3] 1 Timothy 2:5

[4] John 14:15