“Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers, but their delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law they meditate day and night.” Psalm 1:1-2a (NRSV)
An early lesson that my father taught me was “how to tie my shoes.” To my recollection I did not ask him to teach me. Instead I asked him one time too many to tie my shoe whose lace had come undone.
Right then and there we sat down in the floor and Dad taught me how to tie my shoes. He told me to grab the ends of the shoelace with one end in each hand and pull tight. Next I was to cross the ends and pull tight once again. Then I would make a small loop with the lace in my left hand and then cross it with the lace in my right hand leaving room to pull that lace through forming another loop and to pull tightly. Then I should have two loops with a firm knot and two loose ends, looking very much like a limp bow. It took some practice to acquire this dressing skill, but Dad’s lesson has served me well for years.
If I were asked to teach a child how to tie his or her shoelaces today I am sure I would use those same instructions that Dad shared with me. For the longest time I thought that was the only way to tie one’s shoelace. Much later I learned that there is another way that involves making two loops of the shoelaces before tying them together at the same time. The knot looks a little different, but the same desired effect is achieved regardless of using Dad’s instructions or the other one. Both ways will render perfectly tied shoelaces.
With regard to many things we know that the old adage is true … “There is more than one way to skin a cat!” By the way who would want to skin a cat in the first place? I remember anatomy students in college carrying around their cat cadavers. I suppose for the purpose of preparing to be a doctor or nurse, they may have needed to learn how to do this and other procedures, but I digress.
While there may be many different ways to do things in life, the Psalmist points out that there are two pathways in life. However there is only one for those who love God and who desire to please him. They are pleased that God has revealed the way to enjoy life that comes from obeying and taking delight in God’s law. They meditate on God’s law day and night so that they keep on this pathway. They are likened to trees growing by streams whose leaves never wither and which produce fruit in abundance.
Lord God, thank You for teaching us that there are two ways in life, but only one that leads to the abundant and eternal life offered us through Your Son Jesus, in whose name we pray. Amen.