I dutifully followed the recipe in every detail. The only real difference was the syrup. “Corn syrup is tasteless,” the author said, so she switched to real maple syrup.
“This had better be good,” I thought as I shelled out seven dollars for one small bottle. It wasn’t. No, that’s not fair. It did not taste awful, but it wasn’t pecan pie.
I reread the article. I should have known when I saw the line, “All you can taste are the pecans,” referring to the standard recipe using corn syrup. Well, it is called Pecan Pie. It is all about the pecans to us Southerners. This magazine was based in New England. What the chef had created was a Maple Nut Pie because suddenly it was all about the maple syrup. You could have added walnuts, hazelnuts, or almonds and not have known the difference. She had completely changed the focus of the pie.
The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath, Mark 2:27. Over and over during his ministry, the scribes and Pharisees plagued Jesus with accusations of breaking the Sabbath. Their many rules and regulations, not found in the law, had turned what God designed to be a blessing for man into a burden.
The Sabbath was a day of rest for God’s people, while the pagan world worked seven days a week just to survive. It was a day when they could see to their spiritual needs, and renew their relationship with God. It was a day of “holy convocation,” Lev 23:3. The many rigorous—and ridiculous—traditions had made it a day to dread instead.
Jesus reminded them many times that man should be blessed by the Sabbath, that his good should come because of and sometimes even at the expense of the Sabbath. They pulled their oxen out of the ditch. Why shouldn’t he heal?
When you change the focus of a law, you often lose the blessing God intended from that law. Staying with the idea of a special day, what about our Lord’s Day? Is it necessary to make it inconvenient in order for it to be sincere worship? Yet, I have heard people argue about changing the times of service in exactly that way. If we have many who come from a distance, and the price of gas has become prohibitive, why can’t we meet one time for longer instead of two shorter services without being accused of losing our faith?
Can’t you hear Jesus’ reaction? The Lord’s Day is made for man, not man for the Lord’s Day. If inconvenience is what makes it true worship, let’s meet at 3 am.
To make another application, each one of us is responsible for how we view our assemblies, for our focus when we meet. If instead of being a blessing it is nothing more than a rule to follow, then I need to change my focus to God’s intended one. We are told that our assembling should “provoke one another to love and good works.” Too many times all we get is provoked, and that is our own fault. Let all be done unto edifying, Paul tells those assembled in 1 Cor 14:26. You can’t edify a person who sits there like a rock, who listens to find fault, or who wishes he were somewhere else.
Don’t change the focus of God’s laws. He made them to bless us and help us. When we can’t find the blessing, it’s because we are focused on ourselves, our own bad attitudes and evil motives, instead of on serving a Creator who loves us and blesses us, and on brethren who count on us for encouragement.
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments, and his commandments are not grievous, 1 John 5:3.