The last time I flew in a plane I need to make a visit to the rest room. Once inside I noticed big signs that said, “No Smoking.” (You know the kind with a picture of what you’re not supposed to do with a red circle around it and a line through it)
However, I also noticed an ash tray on the door with a smoking cigarette etched on the cover. That sign was telling me where to put out my cigarette that I wasn’t supposed to smoke. Then I noticed a sign that said, “Do not put your cigarette butts in the trash.” What?
If we aren’t supposed to smoke in the little boy’s room why do they have signs telling us where to put out our cigarettes and where not to put their butts? Is the airline assuming that people will ignore one sign and yet obey another? When signs collide, which do we follow?
As Christians do we sometimes convey mixed messages? Do we say one thing and do another. Do we ask others to “Don’t do as I do, do as I say?” Do we send out conflicting signs?
On Mount Sinai Moses was given 10 commandments. (There’s an old joke that has Moses saying, “I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news. The good news is I got it down to 10. The bad news is the one about not committing adultery is still in there).
Eventually the commands grew to 613. Yet when Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment he combined two from the 613 to make one with an addendum. He said that the greatest commandment was to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. He added an addendum, to love ones neighbor as oneself. He said on these two hang all the laws and the prophets.
The gospel of Mark ends with these words that speak of what the disciples did after Jesus ascended into heaven, “, And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.” My prayer is that we will go forth like those disciples, preaching everywhere and that the Lord will confirm the words we share with signs following us rather than content ourselves with following signs.