While preparing a meal, a young mother cut a pot roast in half before she put it in a large pot. Her husband asked her why she cut the meat in half. She replied, “Because that’s the way my mother does it.”
Her husband’s question, however, piqued the woman’s curiosity. So she asked her mother about the tradition. She was shocked to learn that her mother cut the meat so it would fit in the one small pot she used. And because her daughter had many large pots, the act of cutting the meat was unnecessary.
Many traditions begin out of a necessity but are carried on without question—becoming “the way we do it.” It’s natural to want to hold on to human traditions—something the Pharisees were doing in their day (Mark 7:1–2). They were distracted by what seemed like the breaking of one of their religious rules.
As Jesus said to the Pharisees, “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions” (v. 8). He revealed that traditions should never replace the wisdom of Scripture. A genuine desire to follow God (vv. 6–7) will focus on the attitude of our heart rather than outward actions.
It’s a good idea to consistently evaluate traditions—anything we hold close to our heart and follow religiously. The things that God has revealed to be truly needed should always supersede traditions.