“For they preach but do not practice…they do all their deeds to be seen by others.” (Matthew 23:3,5)
Jesus is not exactly overwhelmed by our positions in society or the power that we wield or the words that we pile up to pass along to others. They mean practically nothing to him.
Christ calls us to the greatness of serving others, to demonstrate by our actions the inside of our heart and not just the outside of our reputation. He wants us to prioritize bearing the loads they carry rather than adding more weight to their burdened souls.
From this passage in Matthew 23, and in dozens of other places all through Scripture, God reminds us that life is not about being seen, or being honored, or being propelled into places of authority. In his economy the most important people, the ones he is noticing and applauding, are those doing the heavy lifting on behalf of others, those willing to put their own needs aside and focus on what exactly might be crushing the person in the cubicle beside them or in the condo down the hall.
Humility has to be practiced, and serving is something we do without regard for recognition. Christ demonstrated both fluently. He spoke the language of compassion and care by transforming the lives of the helpless and underserved. We never read of Jesus jockeying for position or catch him demanding the meeting of his own needs. His servant heart overflowed by intentionally recognizing the hardships around him and responding with whole-hearted love.
With this in mind, it makes perfect sense to ask Christ to show us how to keep serving, how to continue helping, how to make others and not ourselves the focus of our undivided attention.
Dear Lord, You know just how self-centered we can be, how easy it is for us to be consumed by our own particular pile of stuff. Infuse our heart with yours. Make us mindful of those with burdens on their backs and troubles on their minds. Give us a willingness to step inside their world and do something to alleviate the ache. Forgive us, dear Lord, when we have failed to do this in the past. Keep us from repeating any of that nonsense by the power of your Holy Spirit living inside of us. Amen
Elizabeth A Mitchell
Photo Credit: Lisa Fotios on Pexels