Exodus 39-40 Matthew 23:23-39
“How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You are hypocrites! You give to God one-tenth of everything you earn—even your mint, dill, and cumin.[a] But you don’t obey the really important teachings of the law—justice, mercy, and being loyal. These are the things you should do, as well as those other things.” (Matthew 23:23 NCV)
As Jesus railed on the hypocrisy of the Pharisees He noted how they were so lost in the tiny details that they missed the big picture. They were following the law and tithing. They were so careful in their tithing that they were setting aside every tenth mint leaf and cumin and dill seed. While they focused on these small things, though, they didn’t even think about practicing justice, showing mercy, or acting faithful. They had codified life so that they could follow the letter of the Law and missed the Spirit of the Law. Rather than showing God’s love for the ordinary person on the street, they lorded their religious credentials over them. Rather than practicing justice or showing mercy, they treated common people harshly. They were dutiful in their religious practices, but not faithful.
Our relationship with God changes who we are. We are no longer to think only of ourselves, but also about others. The commendation for the Pharisees amid this rebuke was that they tithed. As followers of Christ, tithing should be the beginning of our giving, but not the end. Most of all, we should give ourselves in service to others. We should work for justice in a society that promotes favoritism and cronyism. We’re to show mercy in a revenge driven world. We’re to be faithful to God’s call on our lives, remembering that God’s call involves showing our love for Him by caring for others. If Jesus were to comment on my life, would He commend my giving and chastise the rest of my life, or would I be found truly faithful in all areas of my relationship with God?
Oh Lord, let my whole life: everything I say, think, and do, bring honor to Your name.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.