STAKING OUT THE TROUBLE SPOTS
In her beautiful novel about Maine, “The Country of the Pointed Firs,” Sara Orne Jewett describes the ascent of a woman writer on the pathway leading to the home of a retired sea captain named Elijah Tilley. On the way, the woman noted a number of wooden stakes randomly scattered about the property, with no discernible order. Each is painted white and trimmed in yellow, like the captain’s house. Curious, she asked Captain Tilley what they mean. He told her that when he first plowed the ground, his plow snagged on many large rocks just beneath the surface. So he set out the stakes where the rocks lay in order to avoid them in the future.
In a sense, that is what God has done with the Ten Commandments. He has said, “These are trouble spots in life. Avoid these, and you won’t snag your plow.”
God’s commandments are never punitive. They are expressions of love designed to make life more abundant for his children