Friday, December 11: Matthew 23- The greater things.

Jesus said, Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel (23-24).

Sometimes in the church today we major in the minors, too. God forgive me (us). It is not that the minor things are unimportant… they have great importance but they are not everything.

The Pharisees missed the more important matters like justice, mercy and faithfulness. Do I do that, too, I wondered.

Justice:  am I willing to see that everyone gets a fair shake… people like me and people different than me… different in faith, attitude, station in life, nationality and so on.?  Will I labor for it and work for it?  It is so much easier to say ‘Yes’ than to live ‘Yes’.

O God forgive me when I fall short, which is all too often.

Mercy: I am all for mercy, especially when I am the recipient! But do I show and give mercy… to that person who angered me, to that person who took advantage of me, to that person I do not feel is pulling his/her weight???

Lord, God, I fear that I am not a good mercy giver… Ugh, I fall short again. Forgive me, please.

Lord, here I am begging for mercy for not being a mercy giver, how ironic and sad…

Faithfulness: this brings me full circle. Faithfulness, living the way God wants me to live and doing it with a gracious and humble heart.

Lord, the fact that I fall short of seeking justice or giving mercy shows how far short of faithfulness I have fallen. Show me, Lord, how to grow in these major issues even as I maintain myself in the minor issues as well. Through Jesus, my Lord, I pray. Amen


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