Matthew 15:1-2
1 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 �Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don�t wash their hands before they eat!�

Jesus replied, �And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?� The teachers of the law were so focused on trying to maintain rules to please God that they had created their own human rules. The teachers while trying to do what was right had failed to maintain a relationship with God to understand the things God was teaching them.

Jesus was about creating relationships with people. Jesus came in order to save us from sin so we would be clean in the presence of God. The Pharisees were so focused on maintaining the law they failed to see the needs of others. Instead Jesus was focused on a relationship with the people; that came first.

I was out of town and I walked into a restaurant recommended by some of the locals. The place was packed and since I was alone the waitress asked if I would mind sitting at the bar to eat. There was a spot I could immediately sit at and order so I accepted knowing I would not have to wait.

Next to the place where I was going to sit was a man starting to argue with the bartender that his beer had been taken. I had seen the glass just before it was taken away and there was probably a � of a glass of beer left. Instead of arguing, the bartender just said, �Let me pour you another one.� The argument was settled and the man calmed down.

Sensing the man was still upset I struck up a conversation with him. I said, �Sounds like you might be having a tough day.� His response, �Man you just wouldn�t know. I got out of jail this week and I�m trying to find a job and no one will hire me.� I felt compassion for the man so I asked about his circumstances and if he had a place to live. He said his grandmother was putting him up. I asked if he went to a local church and he said he had trusted Jesus for salvation in jail, but he had not found a church. He said his grandmother was encouraging him to go to church with her. It was obvious this man had a good opinion of his grandmother.

I told him I was glad he had been saved in jail and that Jesus didn�t want to see him suffering and maybe the church could help him. He said, �You know that is what my grandmother keeps saying. She says go down to the church, tell them my problems and ask how they can help. She said they find jobs for people all the time.� I reaffirmed his grandmother sounded like a wise woman.

At that point in the conversation the man stood up, told me thank you, shook my hand and said, �Thank you. I think God sent you here today. I�m going home to see my grandmother and talk to her about the church.

The man laid down a tip and left the full glass of beer sitting on the bar. The man had needed a friend, someone to listen and someone to care. In desperation he had turned to alcohol to calm his nerves, but just taking time to make a friend and develop a relationship with the man made a difference in his life.