Eliminate the Hassle - The Warrior's Journey®

Eliminate the Hassle

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

. Photo by is licensed under CC By 2.0

Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, ‘There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.’  The Lord answered him, ‘You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?’” (Luke 13:14-16) 

That anyone would condemn Jesus for healing on the Sabbath sounds ludicrous to us. But it made perfect sense to the religious leaders. You see, in the traditions of the elders – a man-made expansion of the Law (i.e. the Mishna) – the Rabbis taught that it was unlawful to practice medicine on the Sabbath. For instance, in the Mishna rabbis taught that if someone had a toothache on the Sabbath he was not permitted swish vinegar in his mouth to stop the pain. For this equated to practicing medicine and constituted work. However, on the Sabbath a man could swish vinegar in his mouth to quench his thirst (Yuck!).  In this case it wouldn’t be considered work. 

The Jewish religious leaders categorized Jesus’ miraculous healings under “practicing medicine.” They therefore condemned Him when He performed healings on the Sabbath. The fact that His miracles were obviously the work of God, that they fulfilled Messianic prophecies (Isaiah 35:5-6), and that they gave rest to God’s people all seems to have escaped these critics of Jesus. All they cared about was their petty little rules, not about caring for people. 

To many of you in the military, this will strike a chord in your heart. I have seen so many service members given the “run around” whenever they try to resolve an administrative or finance issue. Too often desk jockeys and clerks will always be ready to quote a regulation or policy letter to explain why they can’t help military members with their problems. They seem to care more about preventing infractions of the rules than their mission to serve and help the service member. This kind of hassle is exasperating. 

We know where Jesus stood on such issues. He prioritized the meeting of human need far above man-made rules. Even when it came to the Forth Commandment, “Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8-11), Jesus qualified it by saying, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27) and “It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:12). Leaders need to eliminate all the hassle that keeps service members from getting the help they need. 


  • Which has priority in your workplace, protocol or the men and women you serve? 
  • Which receives better care, equipment and vehicles or human beings? 
  • The men and women of our military are still the greatest asset of our military. 

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