This week after chapel Mr. Markworth mentioned the acronym I often use: J.O.Y. which stands for J - Jesus O - Others Y - Yourself. As he spoke to the children about this I began to think about how these words relate to the Ten Commandments.
The Ten Commandments can be separated into two groups:
1. Those that tell us how to follow with God - #1-3
2. Those that tell us how to live with others - #4 - 10
The Ten Commandments don't give us instructions as to how to deal with ourselves. I find this interesting that we are told in the Ten Commandments to put God First and then others. Nowhere in the Ten Commandments are we given instructions on how to treat ourselves.
We are only given three Commandments on how to live with God, (granted they are three very important Commandments) and seven Commandments on how to live with others.
I find it even more interesting when we look closely at the Commandments that God has provided for us in them. He has given us a third part of JOY in these Commandments. Of course, the obvious is there, if we live in harmony with God (Jesus) and others we will have a much better life for ourselves. But let's look closely at two of the Commandments, one that deals with our relationship with God and one that deals with our relationship with others.
In the Third Commandment, we are told to "Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it Holy". This is not just about worshiping God. It is also about resting and finding rest in God. Genesis 2:3 tells us that God blessed the seventh day and made it holy and tells He rested. He set the example. By giving this Commandment for us to follow, He is showing us how to take care of ourselves (the YOU part of JOY). Jesus also says in Matthew 11:28, "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
In the Fourth Commandment, we are told to "Honor your Father and Mother that you may live long on the earth." This is the first Commandment with a promise (Ephesians 6:1-3). Again, our LORD is looking out for us, taking care of us. I like that! Some of us have parents that are easy to honor. I know I do! I've been blessed with exceptional parents. I know others who haven't, yet these friends continue to honor their parents, in various ways. While the life of these friends isn't always peaceful, these friends have had peace when their parents passed away. They have peace in the examples they set for their children. They didn't have the "guilt" feelings many others did. They knew they were not only honoring their parents, but more importantly, they were honoring their LORD. This Commandment also has to do with honoring those in authority, sometimes a much harder action for us. Remember, our outward behavior often reflects our inner heart.
I find it amazing, that as we focus first on our LORD and then on others we are then taken care of. That brings true JOY in our lives.
The LORD truly is our Good Shepherd. He gives us all we need. We just need to look to His rules for the guidance we need. We can find the JOY we need by putting Jesus first Others second and.....last.
Vicki Helmling is a teacher at Grace English Lutheran School