On Eating a Bacon Cheeseburger

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Judges 11-12; Luke 6:1-26


On another Sabbath, Jesus entered a synagogue to teach. A man was there whose right hand was withered. The legal experts and the Pharisees were watching him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. They were looking for a reason to bring charges against him. Jesus knew their thoughts, so he said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and stand in front of everyone.” He got up and stood there. Jesus said to the legal experts and Pharisees, “Here’s a question for you: Is it legal on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?” 10 Looking around at them all, he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he did and his hand was made healthy. 11 They were furious and began talking with each other about what to do to Jesus. (Matthew 6:6-11, Common English Bible)

You can tell by looking at me, I haven’t missed very many meals in my life, Sabbath or not. I get where the disciples were coming from when they were picking the heads of grain and eating them. What I have more trouble understanding is, how picking enough heads of grain to eat while walking through a field could possibly be considered work. I remember mowing the yard on Sunday (Not by choice. Mowing the yard was never by choice). That seemed likely to be more work than picking a few heads of grain for lunch.

Probably what bothers me more in the passage more is, the Pharisees getting all hot and bothered because Jesus actually helped somebody, a man with a withered hand, on the Sabbath. What was wrong with those folks? Wouldn’t they want someone in need to have help, even if that meant breaking a religious law? Wouldn’t it be what God wanted, for the person in need to receive the help they need?

The laws of the Bible are important. We should look to follow the law. And, we might want to watch the things we say about “The Bible says…” because there might be places where we too are breaking the Biblical law.

A seminary classmate and I were having lunch one day and discussing some issue of Biblical law we thought was important that particular day. I don’t remember the issue for that particular day (these discussions happened regularly around some issue or another) but I do remember that I had the conservative side of the argument and absolutely remember saying, “Well the Bible says…” My lunch partner quietly replied, “You mean like the Bible says about that bacon cheeseburger you are eating?”

There were at least two Hebrew dietary laws I was breaking. Who knows, maybe there were more right then and I feel absolutely certain that throughout my life there have been many more.

So, was Jesus breaking the law by healing on the Sabbath and forgiving sins? It may be, though I seriously doubt it. What I do know is, Jesus was pointing here as Jesus points to numerous times, the law of love is superior to any of the other laws we might follow.

It also says to me, whether we are involved in healing someone of a physical, mental, spiritual, emotional or other kind of hurting or feeding the hungry on the Sabbath or many other things, Jesus reminds us here and elsewhere, the most important thing is still to love God and love each other. We cannot use one in order to ignore the other. We are called to love, even on Sunday.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s