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One sabbath he was going through the grainfields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?” And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food? He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and he gave some to his companions.” Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”
Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come forward.” Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.
Restoring Common Sense
I’ve heard a lot of folks talk about how we’d be better off if we dismantled some of the rules and regulations that have become an unnecessary burden to many in our society. Although the intent of these laws might have been good, even noble, they’re so restrictive that it prevents well-meaning folks from doing much of anything. Simply put, they want to restore a little common sense to the rules that we follow as a society. And I’ll tell you, I think they make an excellent point. And that’s not to say that the concerns felt by those who suggested the regulations weren’t and aren’t valid. Unfortunately, as soon as you focus on regulating human behavior, it’s easy to take it too far.
And you know, I think the same thing can happen in our walk with God. You see, I think there are certain principles on which all believers agree, you know, like how we’re called to love God and neighbor and how the Ten Commandments are important for people to follow. I doubt that anyone would disagree with that. Unfortunately, we can get into trouble when we try to define what exactly “love” is and isn’t and when exactly does the Sabbath start and end and how exactly should we honor our mother and father. In other words, as we try to make these principles apply to specific situations, we often drift away from the intention behind the idea to say nothing of basic reason. And I’ll tell you, whether you’re talking about the state or the church, when that happens, I think we need the courage and the insight to restore a little common sense.