When Religion Keeps You From a Relationship With God

Our son Drew, who was twelve, headed down for breakfast in an elevator ahead of us from our fifteenth floor room.

A few minutes later when we arrived at the hotel restaurant we couldn’t find him. After hunting around a twinge of panic set in.

We were in Israel on a family trip visiting the Holy Land sites. Not the place you want your child to come up missing.


Photo Credit: Beverly Vealach

Photo Credit: Beverly Vealach


I said to Jennifer, “Where could he possibly be?”

She answered astutely since she’d been with me, “And how would I know?”

So we diligently searched the restaurant and lobby.

As we passed the elevators a door opened and Drew stepped out.

We said, “Where have you been?”

He answered, “Well someone pushed all the buttons on the elevator because it stopped at every floor.” Of course, spoken like a true twelve year old who if given the chance would have done exactly that.

We laughed relieved, “No today is the Sabbath and you got on the Sabbath elevator.”

You see, some rabbi in his infinite wisdom determined after diligent study that pushing buttons on an elevator is work. So the Sabbath elevator stops at every floor so a person can follow their religion and still get around the hotel.

Uh yeah, I think that’s pretty important to God.


Jesus encountered similar religious condemnation.


One Sabbath his disciples were hungry so they pulled off some ripe heads of wheat rubbing them in their hands and eating the kernels.

Some religious leaders criticized them for not following the Sabbath rules.

So Jesus mentions a time their legendary hero King David had broken the religious rules when he was hungry.

And he pointed out that the priests who serve on the Sabbath break the rules yet aren’t condemned.


So how hypocritical.


Yet, frankly, before we get too cocky I could cite example after example of how we in our own way do the same thing.

Arguments over which day we should attend worship services.

Whether we serve wine or grape juice in communion.

Whether we celebrate communion every week or only occasionally.

Whether we sing traditional hymns or modern songs.

Whether we use no musical instruments, only an organ or have a rock band.

Wow! Pretty critical stuff.

Yet Jesus response to all of this?

“I tell you that there is something here that is greater.”*

We’ll talk more about this next time but for now remember only this.


There is something far greater than religion that leads to a relationship.


Your thoughts?

Please let me know on Facebook, Twitter or email me.


*Matthew 12: 1-6 (NCV)