Looking Back Over Jesus’ Life
My faith has been formed by the words of Jesus. Many times, I listen to Him speak, and try to follow the example He lifts up. However, in Matthew chapter 23, as Jesus criticizes the actions of the self-righteous scribes and Pharisees, I cringe at His description of these supposedly religious people and hope not to follow their example.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!
Each week in worship, we are invited to bring “God’s tithe and our offerings.” Teresa and I are tithers (we try to give back to God ten percent of what God has blessed us with.) I make that statement with some trepidation, because I don’t want to act like this makes me some special person. God doesn’t just want a bunch of dutiful decimal point movers.
The Pharisees and scribes also apparently tithed. And they may have gone far above what I do with ten percent of my income. They also tithed their spices (right down to the mint, dill, and cummin.) The problem, it seems, is that they were spending so much time calculating what to keep and what to give away that they neglected the needs of others. Tithing alone is not the right or righteous path.
Tithers who also care about justice, mercy, and faithfulness to God, may be what is desired.
God, help me to exercise my obedience to You in ways that give You the glory and along the way help others in Your kingdom. Amen.