23 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. 5 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries[a] wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others. 8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Motives, motives, motives – it’s not just what we do, it’s why we do it… Jesus once again is burrowing into the hearts of His listeners to expose their motives.
How often do I try to give an impression to people that I am more spiritual, more committed to following God’s ways than I really am?
My old nature is corrupt and would still like people to be impressed by me and to think that I am more devoted than I really am. When I try to give that impression to people, I am acting like a hypocrite – doing good works to be seen by men, rather than out of devotion and love for God.
Jesus is not impressed by good works for the sake of making myself look good to others. And here we read that He actively discourages people from seeking after a spiritual hierarchy, titles and power.
What Jesus does appreciate is just this – humility. Honestly owning up to my faults and failings and true motives, and realising that we are all the same – sinners saved by grace.
Lord, I humble myself before You. Forgive me for seeking to impress people rather than seeking to live honestly and devotedly before You.
Written by Shelley Witt