Common Sense

Ruth 2:2,17,18
         And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace…So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned; and it was about an ephah of barley. And she took it up, and went into the city.

HENRY MOORHOUSE (1840-1880): Ruth was a woman who had a great deal of faith, and a great deal of common sense. You know it is one thing to have grace, and another thing to have common sense. But she had both. She had got more than she wanted, and she “beat out that she had gleaned; and it was about an ephah of barley.” And she carried away—the straw? No, she did not; but that is what we do sometimes. We attend a meeting, and when we go away we leave the corn behind, and carry away the straw. “Dear me! Never heard anything like that before.” “Do you agree with all that he said?” “He said this or he said that, or he said the other: did you know what it all meant?” That is carrying away the straw instead of the wheat. The wheat cannot grow without straw, and many sermons have more straw than wheat in them. Beat it out. Leave the straw and carry home the wheat. I never heard anybody in my life who spoke about the Master, who did not give me some wheat to carry away. Let us glean until even, then beat it out and carry home the wheat or the barley.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): They say that common sense is worth all the other senses put together; and methinks if men could but use common sense aright, it might be a fine thing for them in matters of religion…
      The first lessons I ever had in theology were from an old cook in the school at Newmarket where I was an usher. [Mary King] was a good old soul, and…a godly experienced woman, from whom I learned far more than I did from the minister of the chapel we attended. I asked her once, “Why do you go to such a place?”
      “Well, there is no other place of worship to which I can go.”
      “But it must be better to stay at home than to hear such stuff.”
      “Perhaps so,” she answered, “but I like to go out to worship even if I get nothing by going. You see a hen sometimes scratching all over a heap of rubbish to try to find some corn; she does not get any, but it shows that she is looking for it, and using the means to get it, and then, too, the exercise warms her.”
      So the old lady said that scratching over the poor sermons she heard was a blessing to her because it exercised her spiritual faculties and warmed her spirit. On another occasion I told her that I had not found a crumb in the whole sermon, and asked how she had fared. “Oh!” she answered, “I got on better tonight, for to all the preacher said, I just put in a not, and that turned his talk into real gospel.”

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): If people would exercise the same common sense in religion which they discover in the ordinary affairs of life, it would save them from a thousand mistakes. Behold the husbandman. He knows that God gives the increase―but he also knows how He gives it―and therefore manures, and ploughs, and sows, and weeds. His reliance upon God tells him that favourable seasons and influences are necessary to raise and ripen the corn―but he is never guilty of such folly as to go forth at harvest, and expect to reap where he has not sown. Nevertheless, such is the folly of many with regard to religious things. Such is the folly of a man who complains he does not profit by the Word―but never tries to impress his mind with the importance of the duty in which he is going to engage, never hears with attention and application; never retires to review what he has heard, and to make it his own.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): Common sense alone might tell us the path of duty, if we would only make use of it.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is, Ephesians 5:17. That word “unwise” does not here signify bare ignorance or lack of knowledge, otherwise the two halves of the verse would merely express the same thought in its negative and positive forms. No, the word “unwise” there means “lacking in common sense,” or as the R.V. renders it “be not ye foolish.”

SAMUEL DAVIES (1724-1761): The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments, Psalm 111:10. The text shows us the first step to true wisdom, and the test of common sense…In short, to pursue everlasting happiness as the end, in the way of holiness as the mean, this is “wisdom,” this is common sense, and there can be none without this.

C. H. SPURGEON: Now I come to the second point, a common sense question―You know what Edward Young* says—“All men think all men mortal but themselves.” We believe that all men will die, but somehow or other, we fancy we shall live. Now the question I shall put reminds me of that sentence. It is this, “Who are you that you think you shall escape the punishment of sin?” When the first [point] was put, you were compelled to confess that you had some guilt; who are you that God should let you off, and not punish you? Who are you that you should stand clear of the sins that you have committed? All men think all men guilty but themselves. They think all men deserve to be punished; but every man has such a good excuse of his own iniquity, that he thinks surely at the last day, he may hope to creep away without the curse. Now I put this common sense question: What is there about you that your sins should not be punished as well as the sins of any other man? Who has given you an exemption? What is there about you that you should walk about this earth and fancy your sins are nothing at all, and that other persons sins are so tremendous?

A. W. TOZER (1897-1963): The idea that God will pardon a rebel who has not given up his rebellion is contrary both to Scripture and to common sense.

C. H. SPURGEON: If the sinner will keep his sin, he must die in it; if he is willing to be rescued from his sin, the Lord Jesus is able to do it, and will do it if he commits his case to His care. What, then, is your darling sin? Is it any gross wrong-doing? Then very shame should make you cease from it. Is it love of the world, or fear of men, or longing for evil gains? Surely, none of these things should reconcile you to living in enmity with God, and beneath His frown…May God of His rich mercy, give you even a little common sense, for, surely, common sense would drive you to Him!
*Editor’s Note: Edward Young (1681-1765) was a English poet and also a royal chaplain. Perhaps one of his most well-known sayings is this: “Procrastination is the thief of time.”


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