Friday, August 19, 2011
Leggo My Eg(g)o!
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."
In the eyes of the world, the scribes have it made. Learned and wealthy, they emit an aura of authority, privilege, and piety wherever they go. People of lesser rank treat them with honor and respect and obey their teachings. Their trappings of elegance and knowledge, intended to impress men, however, do little to impress God. Jesus is essentially warning His disciples to never judge a book by its cover. While the teachers of the law exude a holier-than-thou exterior, on the inside, their hearts beat with pride, greed, and corruption. They don't practice worship, they practice hypocrisy.
Are there any "scribes" in our churches today? Is the Pope Catholic? Our senior pastor, Wallace, once recounted the story of a man he met who professed he was a Christian but refused to attend church. When asked why, he bluntly stated, "I can't stand those people; they're all a bunch of hypocrites!"
Pastor Wallace's response took the man by surprise, "Why, yes, they are, and that's why they know they need to be there."
If we are honest with ourselves, if we peer deeply into the recesses of our hearts, we know this to be true. Our egos struggle daily with the temptations and accolades of this world, yet we are a people aware that we are sinners, and we know we require the strength and mercy of a loving Savior to forgive us and help us overcome our weaknesses, our pretenses, our presumptions. Each Sunday, as I prepare to lead worship with the praise band, I have to remind myself: I am not performing, I am serving; the applause of the congregation is not for me or the band, it's for the music that inspires joyful worship in their hearts; this is not about pleasing others, Lord, it's about pleasing you.
Is there a "scribe" lurking somewhere in you today? Are you doing things that are pleasing to man, but not to God? Could you share some past or present shortcomings here with other readers to bolster them in their spiritual growth? I look forward to the dialogue!
Psalms 140, 142 or 141, 143
2 Samuel 19:24-43