Once my granddaughter Amanda asked me a strange question, “Is it possible to be too obedient?”

I answered, “Not technically, but spiritually.”

Let me explain it with this illustration. The United Parcel Service asks each of its drivers to deliver an average of 400 packages per work day. The company gets this production out ofits employees by literally micromanaging every detail of their delivery routine.

Wall Street Journal writer Robert Frank explained, “Drivers must step from their trucks with their right foot, fold their money face-up, and carry packages under their left arm.

“[UPS] tells drivers how fast to walk (three feet per second), how many packages to pick up and deliver a day (400, on average), even how to hold their keys (teeth up, [with] third finger).

“Those considered slow are accompanied by supervisors, who cajole and prod them with stopwatches and clipboards.”

Insisting upon rigid obedience to rules may help a business succeed, but it will never help a Christian become spiritually mature. That’s because a Christian who is always looking for guidance concerning what he should and shouldn’t do will never develop a personal relationship with God. (This is not to say Christians should not seek counsel on important decisions.) The personal standards which govern a Christian’s life should be based upon his desire to please God, not a desire to follow a manmade set of rules. This is true spirituality.

Yes, it is possible to be too obedient — when we are overly concerned with obeying manmade rules rather than the Word of God. Give people room and time to grow. They may not hold to the same standards you do right away. They might pick up fewer packages or hold their keys differently, but that’s okay. If the Bible doesn’t speak against what they are doing, then don’t make an issue of it. Gently lead them to obey God’s Word, and they will learn to do what’s right on their own.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder