Reading these verses, I’m reminded of a story told (as I recall) by a General Authority some years ago.
Again, if I’m remembering the story correctly it occurred back when he was still a local leader. He was headed toward a Sunday meeting in a rural area — perhaps, I vaguely seem to recall, in southeastern Idaho — and he was running just a bit late. Hurtling down the road, he passed a car pulled over to the side. As he sped by, he could see that the car had a flat tire. And then, in his rear view mirror, he saw that an elderly lady was looking at the flat tire, wondering what she should do and how to do it.
He was running just a tiny bit late, though, and he was confident that somebody else would surely stop. He wasn’t speaking, but he was presiding and it was important that he be there on time.
He traveled on for perhaps a minute.
But then it hit him. He was headed to a meeting in which they would talk about leading a Christlike life. How could he simply leave her there, stranded along the side of a fairly isolated road? How could he sit primly through a meeting about discipleship, having failed to help her?
He knew that he couldn’t. Not without feeling hypocritical and awful.
So he turned his car around, drove back, got out in his Sunday clothes, changed her tire, saw her on her way, and was quite late to his meeting. But he had followed the Savior.
“I desire mercy, and not sacrifice” (Matthew 12:7).
“The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath” (Mark 2:27).
These readings plainly belong with those directly above and continue the same theme, which has Jesus illustrating the proper attitude toward the Sabbath.
He doesn’t say that it’s okay to engage in trade on the Sabbath day, let alone to eat out in restaurants or attend movies.
But the rules for the Sabbath weren’t intended to free us from service and acts of kindness and charity on that day. In fact, the spirit of the Sabbath urges quite the contrary:
“It is lawful,” he says at Matthew 12:12, “to do good on the Sabbath.”
Posted from Richmond, Virginia