Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and his disciples, “The legal experts and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat. Therefore, you must take care to do everything they say. But don’t do what they do. For they tie together heavy packs that are impossible to carry. They put them on the shoulders of others, but are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. Everything they do, they do to be noticed by others. They make extra-wide prayer bands for their arms and long tassels for their clothes. They love to sit in places of honor at banquets and in the synagogues. They love to be greeted with honor in the markets and to be addressed as ‘Rabbi.’ “But you shouldn’t be called Rabbi, because you have one teacher, and all of you are brothers and sisters. Don’t call anybody on earth your father, because you have one Father, who is heavenly. Don’t be called teacher, because Christ is your one teacher. But the one who is greatest among you will be your servant. All who lift themselves up will be brought low. But all who make themselves low will be lifted up (Matthew 23:1-12, Common English Bible).
“It’s not what you say, it’s what you do.” Words along these lines are as popular today as ever. Just two chapters ago we read the “Parable of the Two Sons.” The father told one son to go work in the field. He said no and went to work anyway. The father told the second son to go work in the field. He said yes, but never went. When Jesus finished he asked his listeners who did the will of the father. The response was the first son. In other words, it is not about what you say, it is about what you do. It is what we often think. Don’t worry about what others say, worry about what they do.
Yet words are important. What we day is important. As one who essentially talks for a living, the words I say are of importance. What I say is important, at least I hope it is. My words are what I do. Yet I realize that my life has to live in parallel with what I say. My actions must live in concert with my words.
In today’s lesson Jesus is speaking to this as well. He looks and sees what the Pharisees and legal experts do in tension with what they say. Jesus tells his listeners that what the Pharisees say is correct. What they do, however, is a different story. They don’t do the very things they are telling those around them in society they should do. In essence, Jesus says he agrees with what the Pharisees and legal experts say but they do not live out the words they say.
Today we often know the Bible. We, each in our own way, interpret what Scripture says. Yet we don’t live the words we profess. This is the warning Jesus gave us in this lesson.
All too often we are worried about the letter of what Scripture says to the point we fail to love. That, is what Jesus says, more than once, the thing that is most important. When we fail to love, we make it about what we say more than what we do.
How do you live the faith as opposed to talk the faith?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Thanksgiving.
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved