Mahatma Ghandi once said, “If it weren’t for Christians, I’d be a Christian.” Our faith in Jesus IS NOT about religion…..our faith in Jesus IS ABOUT loving God and loving each other! Jesus, indeed, God Himself in the flesh, came to this earth to demonstrate for us in the flesh what it meant to live a heart filled life rather than a legalistic self-serving life. With every generation, it is important to always go back to the root of God’s love.
Mark 12:38-40 (TNIV)
38 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, 39 and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 40 They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”
Jesus warned then, just as many continue to warn now, the importance of being “real” in life. Many church leaders today, just like the Scribes in Jesus day, are religious hypocrites. They want to appear Godly…..yet their actions point more to themselves and often even point to hurting others that are in their charge to teach and love. Often, they had no real love for God. They loved their position, money and influence.
“Scribes Swindle Elderly Widow Out Of Life Savings”, “Corrupt Money Changing Scheme In The Temple Exploits The Poor”, “Levite And Priest Ignore Dying Man On Road”, “Corrupt Religious Leaders Seek To Kill Popular Rabbi”
We need only read today’s headlines to see the same thing:
“Pastor Convicted Of Stealing $20,000 from Church Over 3-year Period”, “Catholic Bishops Told to Follow Own Policies Against Abuse”, “Preacher Stands Trial For Shotgun Murder Of Police Chief”, “Unbelieving Preachers Get Help To ‘Come Out’ As Open Atheists”, “Catholic Child Abuse Cover-Up Case Heads To Jury”
Here is the point and it gets down to our personal level: True followers of Jesus aren’t distinguished showy prayers, following church rituals, or glamour spirituality. Our motives are important.
We must always resist doing good because it makes us look good and we must embrace loving others. Indeed, I believe that If you love God with all your heart……then all your relationships will reflect that love you have for Him and the love He has for you.
Here are three things that Jesus is warning us about in the text above:
1. We are warned against the desire to serve Jesus for position or prominence. If you serve in ministry because you think you deserve it or have earned it rather than for the heartfelt desire to help people heal in their lives and find the Truth in a life with Jesus…..it’s time to rethink and refocus.
2. We are warned against the desire to exalt ourselves. The truth is, the One we should always exalt is Jesus. We should always give od the glory. Our heart should always be to serve God and to serve others.
3. We are warned about following Jesus for our own gain and desires. Following Jesus is not about what we can get out of it…..following Jesus is about what we can put into it…..loving God and serving others.