I remember reading a story in the newspaper about some boys who removed a stop sign at an intersection as a practical joke. A car approached the intersection and, not seeing a sign, proceeded without stopping. Unfortunately, another car approaching the intersection, and having the right-of-way, proceeded through resulting in a car crash that killed several individuals.

What seemed so innocent and funny became a situation resulting in the loss of life. I’m sure the boys had no desire to harm anyone, but lives were lost because of their actions.

There is an interesting parallel with the way we view the Bible and its teachings. Through the years, we have gradually removed the “stops” of the Bible in the belief that there would be no great harm involved. Somewhere along the line, we have declared the teachings of the Bible “out-of-date” and no longer useful in our modern world. Rejecting biblical truth, we have developed an “I-can-do-what -I-want-and-you-can’t-tell-me-I-am-wrong” mentality.

We need to remember that God gave us some “stops” in life, not because He is an arbitrary, mean and vindictive God, but because we don’t always know what is best for us. “I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.” (Jer. 10:23) Just as small children need direction to learn what is good or not good for them, we need direction to avoid the problems of this world.

The “stops” were not given to keep us in bondage, but to help us achieve the greatest possible good for our world and bring us into a greater, more intimate fellowship with God. Our greatest potential will never be realized in absolute freedom to do anything/everything we want. It did not work for Solomon and, I would suggest, it will not work for us!

“So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me. And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.” (Eccles. 2:9-11)

The “stops” are there for a reason. They keep order in faith and life, reduce our worries and help us achieve the greatest good possible in this world. Don’t pull out all of the ’stops!”


            Gary Knuckles is minister of the Briensburg Church of Christ in Briensburg, KY.