J. Edgar Hoover, a former director of the FBI, had a rule stating all FBI memoranda to him were required to be shorter than two and and one-half typed pages and with two inch margins all around. One time, an agent unable to shorten his memo to Hoover on internal security, reduced the two inch margins to one and three quarters inch. Hoover sent it back to the agent with a message in the familiar scrawl: “Watch the borders! H. Telephones began to ring all over the building, everyone asking the same question: “Is there anything going on in Mexico or Canada that we should know about?” “Maybe we should call the Immigration and Naturalization Service.” Somebody said, “Why don’t you just ask Hoover what he knows that we don’t know?” But no one dared. Eventually hundreds of special agents spread out to guard our national borders with Mexico and Canada.
Several days later a supervisor was again reviewing the memo and it became clear to him what Hoover meant. The memo, had been typed with the narrowest possible margins. Hoover, always fastidious, had picked up his pen in annoyance and had scrawled, “Watch the borders!” He did not mean the border of the United States but the borders of the memo!
Misunderstandings can lead to wrong or wasted actions. In this case, the deployment of hundreds of special agents.
Rightly Paul, was concerned his rejection of the Jewish Law could be misunderstood or misrepresented. His critics no doubt accused him of teaching license. In Sunday’s passage, Galatians 5:13-16 Paul says our freedom is not the freedom to serve sin, but our Savior. We are not under the Law of Moses but under the Law of Christ, Galatians 6:2. While the OT Law is “unbearable” Acts 15:10, and a “yoke of slavery” Galatians 5:1, Christ commands are never burdensome but are “easy” and “light,” Matthew 11:28-30.
In three short verses Paul RECAPS our CALLING, 5:13a; REBUKES our CARNALITY, 5:13B; REMINDS of Christ’s COMMAND, Gal 5:14; and finally REVEALS a CALAMITY.