As a religious leader, verses 38-40 directly connect to my life and occupation. Jesus spoke forcefully to His followers. As he taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”
His message is pretty clear. Religious leaders, beware power, prestige, being placed on a pedestal, and honor. And do not take advantage of your position for personal gain.
When you help people, when you teach as one teaching on behalf of God, it is not for show or personal gain. By implication it is for the Lord. Personal gain is not to be part of your equation.
It is all too easy for revered or talented clergy to begin to be seduce by their own ‘press notices’ and the accolades of the people.
The role of the religious leader is to listen to the Lord and act accordingly. This will not always play well with the masses.
John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Twelve were all persecuted for things that they said and did… things that honored God but angered people.
The second to last sentences is a sad commentary on religious leaders and it should not be. Jesus’ final comment is a dire warning to religious leaders who are in it for personal gain or fame!
As a religious leader I sit up and take notice… Jesus expects His followers to guard their hearts and see that their actions and their character honors Jesus, the Father and the Spirit.
This calls me to examine my life, actions and motives…