Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Weightier Matters

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” (Matthew 23:23)

         Pharisees are sticklers for details, but slipshod with principles. This is unfortunate, since, as Jesus said, neither of them should be left undone. Paying the tithe is a commendable and Biblical practice; but good judgment in questionable things is a weightier matter. Perfect attendance at church is an admirable habit, but showing mercy in the face of personal offense is a weightier matter. Giving praise to God in testimony or song may be inspiring to others; but exhibiting faith in the face severe or prolonged adversity is a weightier matter.

         This verse warns us that some of the trappings of the Christian life can become so absorbing that we begin to elevate them to a place of undeserved importance. It is easy, since they often do not call for a great deal of Spiritual maturity, and are nearly always things that make us look good. Worst of all, as Jesus said, they leave us little time (or inclination) to cultivate depth of soul or the spiritual graces of a true disciple.

        None of us should be satisfied being a “spiritual lightweight.” It would behoove each of us to ask ourselves from time to time: “Am I spending my life on “mint” or Judgment? “anise” or Mercy? “cummin” or Faith? the incidentals or the “weightier matters?”


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