Sunday, November 11

Todays Gospel reading, Mark 12:38-44, provides us with a lesson in contrasts. Jesus talks about a certain group of people first …

Jesus calls attention to the scribes. These were people well versed in the Torah, men that knew the Law and the Prophets. And they were a well-respected group. They had social status and given the system of their day a certain amount of political pull. But they had something else too. They had lost touch with the essence of religion, a right personal relationship with God, and had bought into a religion that consisted only of outward form. This “outward form” could be manipulated. As long as they said and did the correct outward things, so long as they went through the motions, they could twist things to their own ends. They could make long-winded prayers and make theft, as an example, look like a good deed. They were the original spin doctors. We have lots of scribes today, we just don’t call them that. Right here someone, somewhere, will be thinking, “He’s being judgemental.” No, I’m following directions. Jesus said, “By their fruits you shall know them.” Matthew 7:16a. Now how do you know good fruit from bad without making a judgement call? So there’s judgemental and then there’s judgement. Our modern scribes? They know things like the Constitution very well. They know what it means and what the founding fathers had in mind when they wrote it. They aren’t stupid, though they may play the part if it suits their purpose. They are, in fact, very bright. They can manipulate words, like those long prayers the scribes in Christ’s day used, and so twist meanings and confuse points to bring about the results they want, even making it look like a good deed. Consider. We used to have “right to life.” We all knew what that meant. Now we have a right to “quality of life.” Sounds good, doesn’t it? And that right to a quality life? Well, certainly the individual ought not be burdened unnecessarily. Our boundaries ought to be wide and open so as to allow for our right to be free, and certainly personal pleasure needs to be maximized and consequences should be kept at a minimum. Still sounds good. But, in favor of that right to a quality life, we now have legalized abortion (Why be burdened with children if you don’t want them, and why bother with self-control when this makes it all so easy? And if you think this isn’t so easy, well, there’s always birth control.) and soon euthanasia for the sick and elderly. (Why burden families and society? And given their situation wouldn’t a painless death be a kindness? With over seven billion people in the world population control is just good common sense.) And the world says that you can’t legislate morality. Maybe. Anything can be legalized. Legalization in no way changes morality.

Then there is another group, another class, represented by the widow who put all the money she had to live on into the Temple treasury. Why did she do that? Because the Temple was God’s house, she loved God, and she understood that in giving all she in no way endangered her quality of life because her God was able. It’s a very different mindset, isn’t it? Very different from the scribes and the world of the scribes. It’s so foreign to the world that the world can’t grasp it and thinks it foolishness. But this class of people know two things, and lots more. Number one, they know they are pilgrims and this isn’t home. Hebrews 11:16. And they know that regardless of how foolish they may look to the world following God is never foolishness but always the right thing to do. 1 Corinthians 1:25 & 3:19.

People are a lot like sheep. Sheep are docile and have a tendency to follow. Who we follow, which of the two above groups we fall into, is up to us.

With those who follow faithfully in mind, some even unto death, thank God for all our veterans, both those with us now and those gone on ahead. All martyrs for freedom, our freedom and the freedom of others in foreign lands. God bless and keep all veterans.

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Published in: on November 11, 2012 at 6:24 am  Comments Off on Sunday, November 11  
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