If you enter your neighbour’s grainfield, you may pick kernels with your hands, but you must not put a sickle to his standing grain.
I normally write these Daily Readings in my bed, last thing before I go to sleep. I find it a positive and relaxing end to my waking hours. Sometimes, though, I lie here, my laptop propped up on my pillow, praying like mad that God will give me some inspiration. Today, though, when I read this verse, my mind was overflowing with stories I could use to help get into today’s scripture. Unfortunately, most, if not all of these would mean owning up to one of my deepest, darkest secrets, and I’m not sure I’m prepared to do that. But no. The time has come to clear my conscience. Here goes.
I used to go scrumping.
There – I said it. Scrumping means taking produce that doesn’t belong to you. Being brought up in the country, I had plenty of opportunity, and scrumped apples, pears, plums, potatoes, corn on the cob, figs, all kinds of things. I would like to use Crossring now to apologise to my victims.
In our current Mark Marathon article, Jesus is criticized by the Pharisees for allowing his disciples to pick grain to eat. The big issue for them is that he is doing so on the Sabbath, a theme we will pick up tomorrow. Today, though, we see the justification for the actions of the disciples; they are not working, they are picking kernels with their hands to eat, because they are hungry. If they were taking a sickle to the grain, they would be working – but then they would be in double trouble because that is also outlawed by this verse, and would constitute theft.
God’s word is the vital lifeblood running through the veins of a true believer, but when we pick up on specific ideas and legalistically impose these on other people, we have to be extremely careful. It was not the Pharisees’ place to judge Jesus’ actions. Neither is it our place to judge the actions of those around us. Doing so can cause enormous divisions, which are helpful to no-one. We all need to ensure that we have the very best understanding of God’s word, and can justify our own actions to God.