Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.

Hello Friends: 7.7.11- Rules of the Playground

Hello Friends,

John has asked Tim Clark, his best friend and ministry partner of over 2o years to share with us this week. Tim is currently pastoring a church in San Dimas, CA. We will have the pleasure of having him with us next weekend at church.

One Sunday after church a while back, my family went to a birthday party at a great park in Costa Mesa, CA. This park had one of the coolest playgrounds I had ever seen. It was great fun for my elementary age boys, but was also built with a system of ramps for wheelchair accessibility so my toddler daughter could totally get into it, too.

About an hour into play, I saw Caleb, my oldest son, frantically pacing around the outside of the playground as if he was looking for something. Running up to me and out of breath, he said “Dad, Dad”. Slightly concerned, I asked him what was up? “This playground doesn’t have any rules”, he said. He had spent the last 10 minutes searching high and low for the posted regulations, because he had been pushed aside during play and wanted to discover if that other kid was ‘out of bounds’.

I noticed a huge sign with the name of the park that thanked all the people who had helped build it. I guessed—correctly—that we would find rules somewhere on that sign. Caleb had read it, but didn’t recognize the rules, because they didn’t look like any he had ever seen before. In capital letters at the  top of the sign were these words…

Swing High. Slide Fast. Play Hard. Have Fun.

We weren’t expecting that. These were words that gave all the kids permission to passionately have a blast on this playground. “Use this thing for all its worth” the sign seemed to be saying. And as I watched all the kids that day, it’s exactly what was going on.

On the very bottom of the large sign, in much smaller print was this follow up: “Please play fair, take turns, be safe, and most of all have fun. Adult supervision is required.”

Rules. We are always looking for the things we can’t do or shouldn’t do. More than that, we are often looking for the things that others can’t or shouldn’t be doing so we can point out the rules to them. But what if we understood that life was governed by a set of ‘rules’ that looked more like what was posted on this playground sign?

I think God wants us to fall totally head over heals in love with Him and serve him with all we have. That will help us passionately enjoy our time on this playground called life.

Moses reflected on the law being given in Deuteronomy 10 and 11. He made it clear that the reason we needed to love, serve, and obey the Lord with all our hearts and souls was for our own good. There is great blessing tied to obedience—the focus was never on ‘the rules’, but on the fantastic potential of a full and passionate life that we were created to experience. The rules were simply the context that would release this kind of blessing (if you don’t believe me, go ahead, read Deuteronomy 10 & 11).

Too often we make life about the rules. Not only do we put them first, we forget what they are there for. Yes, there are some conditions to the “high, fast, hard, and fun” encouragements: Care about others; don’t do something that will hurt yourself or anyone else; play within the context of knowing somebody responsible is watching you. But within those very generous boundaries, prepare to have the time of your life…Get ready to swing high, slide fast, play hard and have fun!


Tim Clark
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