The second-shift security guard of the Federal International Bank opens the door for the last of the employees to exit the building as they pass him in the lobby. Then he punches in, fills out some paperwork and begins inspecting each lock on every door and safe in the building. Once he’s done with his usual check-in routine, he sits down in front of a large panel of security televisions and watches them for suspicious activity.
Every so often a group of teenagers gather in front of the bank and practice their skateboarding on the rails and the smooth concrete of the bank’s front courtyard, but it’s the security guard’s job to stop the teens from skateboarding and ask them to leave the property. A few hours into his shift, he sees the teens back skateboarding again, so he peeks his head out of the door and yells at them to leave. This time, however, they tell him that they’d rather rob the bank than leave, and if he doesn’t let them rob the bank they will beat him with their skateboards.
In the case of any physical threat, he is suppose to do as the robbers wish, so he lets the teenagers in and opens the safe for them and they run away with millions of dollars of other people’s money.
When the owner of the bank asks the security guard what happened, the guard starts out by flattering him, telling him how much he respects him and his position as president of the impressive bank. Then he tells him that he opened the safe for the robbers because it was protocol–he was threatened and needed to do as the robbers wished.
The owner, however, reviews the security tape and sees that the robbers were only teenagers who were over fifty feet away skateboarding in the courtyard when they made the threat. So the owner says “You could have easily locked the children out and called the police. I understand you were following protocol, but couldn’t you just have made one simple move outside of protocol to protect our customers? I mean, don’t you care about our customers’ lives?”
The guard replies “No, I don’t care.”
“‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. …their teachings are but rules taught by men. You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men” (Mark 7:6-8).