In Matthew 23, Jesus is laying into the Pharisees, the religious leadership of his time. This week we’ll look at that critique as a mirror. If you don’t want to be known for what Jesus criticizes, don’t do it.
One question is simple: “Who are you teaching for?”
The right answer, of course, would be “the students” or “society” or “God”. Painful but honest answers could be “my parents” or “the money”.
Jesus gives another answer for the Pharisees: “Everything they do is done for men to see.”
How can we tell how who we are doing what we are doing for? Here are some questions (learned the hard way).
- How much does it matter to me what people call me?
- How much does it matter to me how often people call me?
- How much do we work on our Sunday school lessons when no one is watching?
- How concerned are we that when we choose to sit in the back of the room (because Jesus criticizes the Pharisees for sitting in the front of the room) no one mentions our humility and asks us to move up?
- How careful am I to wear the right kind of establishment-challenging kind of clothing (because one doesn’t want to fall into the trap of wearing the establishment tassels and phylacteries)?
- How often do we get caught in flattering someone so that they notice us and reach down from their high position and bring us up?
- How often do we think about what anyone thinks about our religiosity or spirituality?
- How often do we let anyone else be right?
- How often do we think that letting everyone else be right makes us better that everyone else?
You may be fine with this test. Not everyone has issues with public pride. Just some of us.