John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, summarized Christian practice by encouraging those early 18th century Methodists to live out these three simple rules.
The three simple rules are:
Do no harm.
I told our group how our District Superintendent used these three simple rules to share with someone who had sat next to him on a plane flight and who was open to some practical advice on how she should proceed to deal with some problems and issues she was facing in her life. In less than a minute, he briefly encouraged her to live out these three simple rules, rules which he seeks to follow in his own life.
The first simple rule is "Do no harm." Here are some brief highlights of this rule from our study yesterday:
This rule, while simple, is difficult to live out because of three reasons:
1. It demands a lot of self-discipline on our part.
2. We tend to bind ourselves to a particular ideology/theology, rather than to Jesus Christ, alone.
3. We're afraid of the consequences if we live out this rule. When we refuse to live according to the ways of the world, this will have an impact on who we are inside and out!
Our group talked about ways that we inflict harm on others - gossip, speaking disparagingly about others, manipulating the facts, and diminishing those who disagree with us.
The author of the book, Reuben Job, was one of the keynote speakers at last year's West Ohio Annual Conference gathering at Lakeside, Ohio. This is a man of deep wisdom, spiritual maturity, and substantial Christian conviction.
I probably paid him one of the deepest compliments when I told my group yesterday that he reminds me of the Apostle John. Tradition tells us that John, one of Jesus' disciples was the only disciple to live to an old age. He was so respected and revered for his Christian character that when christians/churches were behaving badly, he would appear in front of the assembly, and because he was in a weakened state, would offer these barely audible words in a raspy voice, "Beloved, let us love one another" and then he would sit down! That's all it took. And people began to behave in a more Christlike way in the way they treated each other.
Next week, because the Season of Lent is around the corner, we're going to need to focus on the remaining two simple rules together.