Rules Fall Short

I’m looking forward to the day I no longer have to give rules to my daughters. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am not excited about them growing up. I love them at these ages. The thing about having young kids at the house is we have to teach them a lot of rules. The rules are safeguards for their life… and honestly for our sanity. The rules aren’t perfect, but they are helping to guide the girls in a direction we want them to grow.

If I could be honest for a moment: I really dislike rules, and not for the reason you might think. I don’t mind the boundaries and structure that rules bring, I’ve just noticed that rules don’t really capture the heart of the matter. Rules are like a shadow – but there is something of greater substance.

For example: 
I don’t want my daughters to need a set of rules for how to treat people. I want them to understand how to value people. If they understand truly valuing people then the way they treat people will be as good (if not better) than if they simply followed my rules. 


The idea isn’t mine originally. I stole it from Jesus.

In what is probably the greatest and most challenging sermon ever given Jesus took the rules of the day and invited His listeners to trade in those rules for something better…and more costly.

“You have heard it said…but I tell you…”

  • The rule is “Don’t murder anyone,” and it was replaced with “value people by not even cultivating anger or bitterness in your heart
  • The rule is “Don’t be an adulterer,” and it was replaced with “value others and treat them as people not as objects of sexual desire
  • The rule is “Love your neighbor, hate your enemy,” and it was replaced with “value everyone who was created in God’s image
  • Rules sure seem a lot easier, but they fall short of imparting the values that allow us to thrive in life.

This is why, when it comes to our work as volunteers, one of the most valuable things we can learn is the values that should drive us as we serve. We are most effective and flourish when our actions are informed by values. Rules and guidelines give a general idea of what we should do – but values answer questions when rules fall short.

Values help us find an answer in our gut in those moments when our head is saying, “I don’t know what to do.” 

  • Tools and resources matter.
  • Rules and guidelines help us head in the right direction.
  • But we will be at our best when we are driven and guided by values.

Seek to discover and learn the values that inform your volunteer work, wherever you serve.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s