“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.”
When you look through the Bible, you’ll find that religious hypocrisy is what God hates the most. In the Old Testament, God has scathing criticism for the religious leaders of Israel and Judah. God meets them face-to-face in the New Testament in the flesh of Christ.
As a church goer, such harsh words can be some of the most convicting. Here, we see a group of Pharisees who have become so wrapped up in their religious practices that they overlook the heart of the Law they are supposed to be teaching.
Here, Christ points out that these Pharisees have become so wrapped up in religious practice, that they’ve forgotten why that Law was established in the first place. When Jesus sums up the entire Law in two sentences (Luke 10:27), He demonstrates that life is about love and relationship between God and others.
Religion is oftentimes boiled down to mere piety and ceremony, but God intends for our lives to be relationship with the all-sustaining, encountering a true love that pours out on all who surround us.
So, when you read, when you tithe, when you worship, are you seeking to come closer and closer to the God who made you? Does your worship in fact overflow into helping and loving those around you, those around the world?
I know that for me, my life (more often than not) does not look like Christ’s. He sought constant communion with his Father and invested his time into twelve men.
Ultimately, His love was demonstrated to everyone as He walked up the Hill of the Skull. He made the way for us to live a life in constant communion with the Father and genuine love for the people on this planet.
How often I fail to tap into that strength and love.