According to Wordspy, wallet neuropathy, also known as hip-pocket syndrome or piriformis syndrome, refers to lower back pain caused by sitting on an overstuffed wallet kept in the back pocket. Or, by hauling around a handbag or purse that weighs as much as an Everlast heavy-bag! All that extra weight throws off your natural gait, stiffens your muscles and can even cause headaches. It’s a bunch of little things, but when put together they can cause a world of hurt if you’re not carful. It’s not only isolated to your body but to your mind as well.
If you’re over the age of 5, you have probably felt (and maybe even looked) like your wallet/purse a time or two—over-stretched, out-worked, and overwhelmed. We’re too busy; we don’t have enough time in a day to get done everything that needs to be done; we don’t have enough money. These are the things we constantly say when we can’t do something. Well, what if you did have more money? What would you spend it on? If you did have two more hours in a day, what would you do with it? I hate to say it, so I’ll quote one of the great rappers of all time, Tupac: “some things will never change”.
Have you ever been in an elevator and read a sign that says something to the effect of ‘maximum capacity: 10 persons’? And on the very next floor, 12 people squeeze into the elevator and it kind of jerks before it continues its descent? The elevator is being over worked. Things are built to handle a certain capacity, but when they reach maximum capacity and are overloaded, they become uncomfortable or worse, broken. Psychologists call this, decision fatigue. We have so many things competing with one another that we begin to lose sight of our priorities. We have too many things we “need” to do, we end up doing them in a perfunctory manner and the quality of our work declines.
When we crowd in what’s unimportant, we crowd out what’s most important. That’s not to say the people in the elevator or every piece of paper in our wallet/purse are unimportant. But maybe when things get to capacity, you need to take a break and prioritize. Martial arts master Bruce Lee took this principle to heart and applied them to everything he did. He was quoted saying, “It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.” He also said “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”
Of course, this isn’t a new problem. There’s nothing new under the sun. People were dealing with being overloaded back in Biblical times! The Pharisees (the religious people at the time) managed to take what was 10 commandments and morph them into a system that developed 613 laws (365 negative commands and 248 positive laws). These laws managed to make people heartless, cold, and created an arrogant brand of righteousness! This produced many problems including Pharisees confusing personal preference as law. Inconsistencies and accountability to God was replaced with accountability to man. So by the time Jesus stepped on the scene, the Jews had it! Tired of of double standards, tired of the judgment when they manage to keep one law but broke another in the process… it was too much!
One man in the gospel of Luke, chapter 10:25-28, managed to ask Jesus (and I’m paraphrasing) “How do I inherit eternal life?” In his mind, he might be thinking - how can I attain righteousness with ALL these rules that don’t seem to fit together? Why do I have to carry around this scroll all day in my back pocket just to make sure I “do the right thing”? My back is hurting Jesus, fix this! And Jesus simply replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” I can see the man again, pulling out this big scroll and reading off the laws from the top: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and Love your neighbor as yourself…”
And Jesus cuts him off right there—“STOP! That is exactly right! Do those TWO things and you will live!”
“But Jesus, what about law number 257? What about law number 412?”
“STOP!” Do these TWO things, love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul… and love your neighbor as you love yourself. Do these TWO and the rest will follow.
The stress in our lives come from our substitution. We often center our lives on things God has made, rather than the God who made them. Whenever we do that, we will be just like an over stuffed wallet. Take the time and prioritize what needs to be done in your life. Put first things first, and make space in your crowded life for the TWO things you need to do. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, body, and soul. And love your neighbor as yourself. Do these and you shall live.
If you missed out on this week's sermon, check it out here.