1. This is your work. Put your name at the top right-hand corner. (I always wondered why these kind of things said ‘right-hand’ instead of just ‘right’.)
2. Read everything before doing anything.
3. Put three circles around your first name.
4. Put a line under your last name.
5. Stand next to your desk and name your favorite subject. Wait ten seconds. Sit down.
The third to the last instruction said, “Do only the first two instructions and these last three.”
The second to the last instruction said, “Quietly observe your classmates.”
The last instruction said, “Nice job. Hand in your paper.”
I loved this ‘test’. Admittedly, I was clued in to its existence and contents by an older sibling. I almost wish I had not been. Would I have followed the instructions? I don’t know, I think not!
I remember how funny it was to watch other classmates who had not been warned, and obviously didn’t follow that second instruction. The things they had to do for that test ranged from drawing shapes to writing long words, adding the date of their birthday with today’s (that day’s) date and calling out the answer. What noise, what silliness, what obvious ‘not following instructions’!
I never considered that a test like this might be damaging to some children. I wonder what today’s psychologists would say about such tests. Even so, that was a day I always wished we could do again and again, it was so funny and different, but of course it would only work once, wouldn’t it?
Or would it?
As I go through my days, as I live my life, I can see that there have been many instances when I could have avoided mistakes - costly ones, embarrassing ones, sad ones, if I had just read through and thought about the ‘instructions’ first.
Oh, those package inserts and operational manuals that come with everything from a toaster to a car! I dutifully keep them and have learned enough organizational skills to allow me to find them at a moment’s notice, but please don’t ask me to read them!
Without getting preachy, I believe every Christian knows where we can turn for ultimate help on anything.
Some of us (especially me) will still be found (almost everyday) standing up next to our desks and stating our favorite subjects. (Or, translating this into present-day activities, stating our favorite thoughts about annoying traffic, co-workers, family members, etcetera.)
Why can’t I follow those instructions that Jesus gave? There were only two of them!
1. Love the Lord your God with your all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
2. Love your neighbor as yourself.
I am so grateful that Jesus not only did as my older sibling and clued me in to the instructions, He also took the hardest test of all and He put my name on it like it was my work and He handed it in. And God said, ‘Nice job.’
Thank you Jesus forever and ever.
Jesus’s two rules are from Mark 12:30 and 31, NIV
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