Beware of Becoming a Financial Pharisee….
In Matthew 23: 23 – 26, Jesus said,
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. (“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!) You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”
Two quick lessons for you and me:
* Examine our own hearts to be sure we are not becoming financial Pharisees. Jesus did not tell them to stop giving. He told them to practice both giving and justice, mercy and faithfulness. Are we doing all the right things with money but harboring the wrong attitudes towards our fellow man? Are we self-righteous and pious, judgmental and mean?
* Are we full of greed and selfishness while presenting a good front in church? Jesus said that the first priority is to “clean the inside of the cup” which refers to our hearts. Are we authentic? Are we generous? Or are we just doing enough to impress a few folks around us?
The big takeaway for me is that Jesus knows, sees and cares about the condition of our hearts more than our financial good deeds.
Here Jesus rebuked the self-righteous, self-serving pious religious leader for two financial mistakes: one was being careful to tithe down to the last bit of mint dill and cumin while being mean and judgmental. They mistakenly thought their generosity would excuse their lack of justice, mercy and faithfulness. They also were careful to present themselves as righteous to the public but harbored hidden greed and self-indulgence on the inside.