Too Focused on Me

Text: Luke 11:42
‘But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and herbs of all kinds, and neglect justice and the love of God; it is these you ought to have practiced, without neglecting the others. (NRSV)

One of the theological premises of the religious leaders in Jesus’ day was that if the people of Israel strictly kept the law of God, then God’s Messiah would come and rescue them from their enemies.

This line of thought is why many of the teachers and law makers would provide even stricter rules so that one would not even come close to breaking God’s original commandments.  For example, “You shall not use the Lord your God’s name in vain”, was turned into, “you shall not utter the name of God”.  How could one misuse God’s name if one does not use God’s name at all?  Or “you shall keep the Sabbath holy and do no work on the Sabbath”, became a list of dos and don’ts that were allowed to be undertaken on the Sabbath to insure you were not working on the Sabbath.  When I was a Wing Chaplain, I had a rabbi on my staff.  Under the things he could not do on the Sabbath were answer the phone or turn on a light switch.  On Saturdays, I would have his phone extension sent to my phone and I would turn the light on in his office when I came in in the morning.

Jesus’ complaint is not that these kinds of things were being done, it was that there was not an equal attempt to show justice to those who were suffering under the unfair treatment of the rich and powerful and that the religious leaders were not showing the love of God towards those they considered unfit because of their lifestyle, occupation, or daily habits.

Jesus’ call to the Pharisees was to practice justice and the love of God as well as continuing to live in a way that honored God’s commandments.  I wonder how many times I get so caught up in living a certain way that I don’t even think about the injustices I see?  I wonder how many times I am so concerned about me and what I do, that I miss those who do not know the love of God because I don’t share God’s love with them?

Pray with me:

God of love and God of justice forgive me when I am so caught up in making sure that I am honoring your commandments that I don’t even take notice of the injustices that go on around me.  For give me too when I do not allow your love to overflow me into the lives of others who do not know your love.  AMEN.

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