There was a song in the musical Fiddler on the Roof called “Tradition.” As this Jewish father sang this song, this message was immediately conveyed: Life is full of traditions.
Traditions can be meaningful, but sometimes they get in the way of the effectiveness of God’s Word in our lives, and they can become very burdensome. As you listen to the song “Tradition” in the film, you can hear the frustration and weariness in the voice of the father. He too had worn himself out trying to keep all the traditions. Keeping traditions can also sometimes prevent us from seeing the newness and freshness of life.
In this passage Jesus makes an amazing statement. He says, “You make the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which you have delivered and many like things that you do.” (See verse 13.) Traditions occur simply when we keep repeating the same thing over and over again. God offers much more to us than tradition. He offers newness of life. His Word is life; however, we can quench the life in the Word through our own traditions.
Religions are full of traditions, and Christianity has many. There were certain experiences God did instruct us to repeat over and over again. One of these is the partaking of the Lord’s supper on a regular basis. When a tradition overshadows the life-giving Word of God, the Word of God is not effective. How many times have you sung the doxology or repeated the Lord’s Prayer? If we are not careful, even the words we speak and sing can be repeated so often that we take them for granted and are not affected by them.
Our goal as we daily walk with the Lord is to keep our spiritual eyes and ears open to the new fresh things He wants to impart to us. Each day He seeks to give us fresh manna, but if we leave the Word on the shelf and do not partake of it, it will have no effect upon us. Never allow the way you worship God to become tradition. Worship in church should never be the “same old, same old.” Each time we gather corporately to worship the Lord, there should be an expectancy of something new from God’s Word or the songs we sing that will touch and change our hearts. Guard yourself against letting your worship and quiet times becoming simply routine.
Lord, each day You have something new for me. Help me to have ears to hear and eyes to see the new things You want to speak to me and show me. I enter this day with excitement because it is a new day, and You make all things new.
READ: Leviticus 15:1-16:28; Mark 7:1-23; Psalm 40:11-17; Proverbs 10:13-14