I love my coffee piping hot, but I’ve been known to leave a mug on my desk until it gets too cold to drink. So then I’ll heat it up again in the microwave.
I know ………. it’s not the coffee connoisseur’s way. In my defense, it’s usually the second or third cup that gets ignored and has to be reheated……… never the first cup…….. never.
Apparently certain flying insects like my coffee as well. If I’m not careful and leave a cup unattended for too long, I’ll gulp down a gnat before I know it.
Matthew 23:23-24 NIV
23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
These are the words of Jesus chastising the leaders in the church after he had warned his followers not to listen to them. What?! Jesus taught his followers not to listen to the leaders in the church? That’s right. Why?
Because they were hypocrites ………..
Not all, but many of the Pharisees and scribes had no faith in God. They were not true believers. They were using the church and its systems to get rich and gain prestige. They took advantage of the poor and illiterate rather than assisting them. They made themselves look good on the outside, but inside they were rotten to the core. They were good at pointing out small deficiencies in others but were oblivious to their own giant deficiencies.
In these verses, Jesus said you tithe ……… but you neglect. In other words, you support the church financially but you do nothing to further justice, mercy, or faithfulness. You do nothing to alleviate the suffering of those you are supposed to be shepherding.
Which is more important? To give financially to the church or engage in people’s lives?
Hmmmm………… surely there is someone you know who needs justice or perhaps mercy. Maybe they just need a faithful friend.
Well ……….. I guess swallowing a gnat in my coffee is better than swallowing a camel ………..