Luke 10:21-24, 38-11:13, 27-12:21; Matthew 11:25-30
Something Luke wrote made me laugh out loud this morning. He tells us Jesus was invited to dinner at the home of a Pharisee. It must have been quite a home because it seems there were many people attending this dinner. Jesus began eating without washing his hands first (a huge no-no according to the Law of Moses). Seeing that the Pharisee was appalled at his actions, Jesus began to point out the hypocrisy in the Pharisees. He called them foolish, and told them their good deeds were worthless because of their hearts’ condition. Not exactly the dinner conversation I am sure the Pharisee expected when he invited his friends to dine with Jesus that day.
While Jesus was saying, “Woe to you, Pharisees” for one thing and another, a teacher of the law leaned over and whispered to him. Probably with a wink he said something like, “Um, Jesus? When you say those things about the Pharisees, you’re kinda insulting us, too.”
So Jesus turned from the Pharisees and said to the faculty sitting there, “And you experts of the law, (now here’s where I laughed because the professor is no doubt expecting an apology and absolution) WOE TO YOU!!!” And Jesus goes on to list the grievances against the intellectuals at the dinner. Jesus is NOT making friends here!
Why do you serve God? Why do I? Is it so that people will pat us on the back? Are we active in the church, do we go the extra mile thinking it will cover up a sin we are holding on to? Do we pray those flowery prayers, sit on those boards or teach those Sunday School lessons while we harbor hate toward someone?
Jesus doesn’t want us to neglect the work of the church. He wants us to tithe, to teach those classes, to sit with a grieving friend or take soup to a struggling family. But he wants us doing those things for the right reasons.
It can’t be about us. It has to be about being God’s voice, his arms and feet. It has to be about allowing God to reveal himself through us to someone who needs him. If we do it hoping someone will notice and give us an atta-boy, we are just like the Pharisees and teachers of the law Jesus talked to that day.
And Jesus says, Woe to you!
I’d much rather hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant” from the only one who really matters.
Father God, I pray that you will convict each of us when our motives begin to shift away from serving you to drawing attention to ourselves. May you find us willing to work hard quietly, unnoticeably, even anonymously so that you get all the glory. May we be your voice to encourage someone today, your arms to hold a hurting friend, your feet to go where someone needs you. And may we be obedient for Jesus sake.