There’s an old urban legend about a certain famous rock band; they had a condition on their rider that they wanted a bowl of M&Ms in the dressing room. But there was a catch: no brown ones were allowed. If they came into the room and found even a single brown M&M, they would leave.

The veracity of this story aside, there is a bit of a parable here for us.

Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on the fire and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. And fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said to Aaron, “It is what the Lord spoke, saying,
‘By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy,
And before all the people I will be honored.’”
Leviticus 10:1-3

The band put this condition out there, supposedly, because it was a quick way to check and see how willing the venue operators were to follow instructions and work with them to make a successful show.

There’s no harm in asking why we do things the way we do; checking our practices and traditions against scripture is commanded, in fact. What is harmful is making excuses to pass over commands when we find them inconvenient or uncomfortable.

God doesn’t ask for us to conduct ourselves in a certain way in order to satisfy some petty preferences. So even if we come across a “brown M&M” rule in scripture, the first step is to do it and then research for ourselves why it matters. We demonstrate our faith by trusting that the things he asks us to do are for our own benefit. Even the things we don’t understand right away.

Ethan Kirl

Originally Published February 8, 2021