Thursday, 08 December 2022
“…………but do not neglect the more important things.” – Luke 11:42 [NLT]
During His ministry on the earth Christ Jesus never missed the opportunity to drive home certain truths to those who were around Him and were listening to Him. One such instance was when Jesus was invited to dine at a Pharisee’s home where those of his kind were present. He came hard on them to expose their hypocritical attitude and correct them. Jesus’ intention was to “put right” than to please them. The key verse tells us of Jesus’ emphasis on the more important things of the soul.
In their over zealousness to make themselves perfect, the Pharisees soon “majored on the minor” leaving out the basics! This is exactly what happens to every Christian who thinks he/she can please God by “doing” than by “being”—the grace of God that imputed His righteousness on the least deserved is soon forgotten; instead works/deeds become their perception of being acceptable by God. The lessons in today’s text are obvious, for us who have over a period of time become legalistic in our approach like the Pharisees of Jesus’ time.
· Pay more attention to the inside than the outside (Vs.39-41)- If the heart is full of greed and wickedness, no amount of outside rituals/purification will ever draw one to God. We could wear the most clean or white dress to church but if it doesn’t match a clean heart, God would care less about the attire than our heart! Jesus spoke in Matt.15:19-20: “For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. These are what defile you….” Hence let us address the problem inside and pray as the Psalmist did: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Ps.51:10).
· Prioritize the justice and love of God (Vs.42)-The Pharisees were strict with tithing even the herbs but they neglected the justice and love of God. We too can become fervent in our giving but if we deprive our giving where the love of God needs most to be evidenced, all our giving becomes valueless. The Parable of the Good Samaritan is a case in point.
· Practice humility not self-praise (Vs.43): Seats of honour and praise for themselves were valued by the Pharisees. But Jesus showed us the example of servant-leadership. “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matt.20:28). May we as good stewards of the Lord wait to hear from our Master: “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matt.25:21)
· Point people to know God than obey man-made rules (Vs 46,52): The Pharisees were burdening people with man-made rules of the interpretation of the Law such that it drew people far away from God than knowing Him. How about us? How do we understand God’s Word and interpret it for others? Have we made Christianity a religion than a relationship with the Living God? Let us remind ourselves of 2 Cor.5:18 [NLT]: “And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.” May people be dawn to Christ through us!
Can we come before the Lord and examine ourselves to see if there is any Pharisaical attitude in us? If/as the Lord convicts us, let us confess them and ask Him to give us a clean heart and His heart of love to reach and touch others. Let the more important things of our Lord’s heart take the priority in our hearts!
PRAYER: “Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)