My doctor performed some kind of analysis on me and wanted to prescribe a bagful of supplements tailored to my needs. But he stopped at five or six. He said that after you pass that number you run into a little problem. "What problem?" I queried. "Noncompliance," he said.
If you make things too burdensome on people, they will not do what you tell them to do-even if they know it would be good for them. My doctor had sufficient experience with human nature to know where critical mass was, and he was careful to not reach it.
The doctor was right: about five bottles was my limit. Even at that, after a while I chucked the regimen. It wasn't only the minor irritation of unscrewing caps and downing each pill with water. It also became a matter of constantly questioning the effectiveness of what I was doing. Where certainty of beneficial outcome is high, there is greater motivation to persevere. But where certainty of benefit is moderate or low, financial considerations win out over health concerns in the end.
Compare that with God's Word. When I used to think there were too many things in the Bible that I needed to do, I just wanted to throw up my hands and forget the whole thing. But today I read 1 John, and God gives a nice concise summary of his "prescriptions"-in two "pills":
"And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another . . ." (1 John 3:23).
If you give me a hundred commands, I will be overwhelmed. But I figure that if I apply myself to two-believing God, and loving-I will have enough to chew on for a while. And the other commands I forgot will fall in line naturally.
And whereas I am not entirely sure that the supplements the doc gave me will make a whit of difference in my health, I have a high degree of certainty of the life benefits of God's nostrums.