This is the second post I will make in a 3 post series. See post one if you have not read it first (Masks of Christianity).
In this post I will be discussing the second lesson I learned from doing a Spiritual Heart Assessment with Scripture.
The Second Lesson is: Heart disease often occurs when something is neglected.
To review, we were looking at the conversation between Jesus and the Pharisees in Luke 11:37-44.
In this conversation, Jesus is pretty harsh with His words. It’s a lot different than people portray God today. Today, God is supposed to be alllll loving and nonjudgmental. But that’s not the God of the Bible. That’s not the God we see pictured in this instance…
So, why is Jesus being so harsh? in vs 42: “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without ne-glecting the others.”
What does "Woe" mean? It is an incredibly strong statement. It carries two ideas. 1. Grief, deep sadness of what is going on. 2. You are headed for disaster… you are headed for destruction
The closest image to this is if you have ever been part of an intervention. You sit down with a friend and say:
“You have got to stop drinking… You have got to stop sleeping with that married guy.”
“you’ve got to stop using those drugs… you are ruining your family.”
And you know if they don’t stop, it’s going to be bad…and you’re saying it out of love because You can see where its headed but they cant…
Or someone with high blood pressure… the doctor constantly tells them, we have to get this under control…or you’ll end up with a heart attack or stroke…
It’s a genuine concern and warning…
It’s a deep grief over what’s happening.
This is the idea of “woe” and
This is the heart behind Jesus’ words…He’s warning them that they are neglecting something.
“Woe to you Pharisees,! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb and neglect justice and the love of God!”
When He gives this statement, He is talking about a tenth of a tithe.
In first century Israel the people were called by the law to tithe and give 1/10th and they gave it to the priests and the temple and the poor. The Pharisees were very detailed with this. They took it so far where they would tithe their herbs!
This was above and beyond what they were required to tithe.
And Jesus here says: “Woe to you”… and I am sitting here reading this thinking, If they are getting woed, for tithing a tenth of an herb, uhmmm I am in trouble…
He says, “Woe to you, you give a tenth, but you neglect justice and the love of God…”
I think He is warning them… that it is possible to serve… to generous, to be so tedious about your giving…without reflecting the heart of your God.
The Pharisees neglected justice and neglected the poor.
Although they went through religious motions, they weren’t living out the great commandment, love God and love your neighbor. They were so careful to look religious that they even gave a 10th of their garden herbs, which the law didn’t say to do. Jesus says that’s good, but don’t neglect the other…
So again, we ask ourselves: where do I fit in the story? And I would suggest checking your heart by asking:
Do you love being religious more than you actually love your neighbor or God?
Is your Christianity based on your church attendance alone?
Do you care more about your Bible knowledge and church doctrine more than loving and serving people ?
Now, please hear me out and don’t get me wrong...Being religious is great, church attendance is vital, and Bible knowledge is a must. All of these things are so important, but at the same time, we have to be careful not to neglect other things…
Jesus addresses this in v41. Jesus doesn’t say “get your doctrine right, sit in a pew, and every-thing will be clean to you” He says, give the things within, pay attention to the inside and every-thing will be clean for you.
He is saying, you, my loved one, are missing something…
Don’t neglect His justice and His love.
When you put them together, we need to be people who yes, attend bible class, and work on our bible knowledge, and give and serve. But we need to do these things while also saying,
“Your struggle is my struggle, Your problem is my problem. Your pain is my pain."
Because this is exactly what Jesus did for us, right? We had a problem: sin. Jesus said, I am going to make your problem, my problem. He became a human being, experienced all the hardship that we experience on this broken planet. He took all of our sin on himself, and died on the cross. When we experience the generous heart and love of God, we begin to share that generosity with others...
This is why throughout the years, Christians, early Christians, did things like invented hospitals for the poor and people who couldn’t afford health care. The first Christians would go to the dump and picked up babies who have been abandoned and raise them as their own
Its why some people step up and become foster parents… They say, your problem has become my problem!
This is what generosity in the model of Jesus looks like. He leans across the table and says,
“you’re neglecting something..."
"Yes, you look righteous on the outside…Yes, your doctrine is right, your church attendance is great, But you’re neglecting something… You’re missing my heart in your giving… in your serving.”
I am in an online bible class and the teacher posted a poem that read:
“What nerve! What Gall!
For Mrs. Whatsit to call!
I don’t even know the one who died,
And the family at Church, I never spied!
Now I wouldn’t mind to open a can,
If it were someone I know like Ann or Dan
Why ive got washin and ironin to do
Shoppin and bakin and cleanin too
Ask someone else to do that chore
Ive got all I can do and More
These words ring clear in my ears
And cut at my heart like a pair of shears
You see- last week MY loved one died
And I needed a friend by my side
Mrs. Whats it was the first to drop by,
With words of comfort and an apple pie
Others came in a steady flow
People from church whom I didn’t even know
They came with food and a sympathetic smile
Some took time to talk awhile
Ive asked God to forgive me for my lack of love
And pray for His blessings from above
For never again will it be a bother
To take a dish in the name of my father
And I think this paints a beautiful picture of being guilty of neglecting something as we serve. But also a beautiful picture of how to fix it.
Philippians 2:3-5 urges us to Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
And I just want to make sure we havnt forgotten that like I once did.
Jesus was the epitome of servanthood… He even said, “the son of man didn’t come to be served but to serve," Matthew 20:28.
Not only are we most like Christ when we serve others, but without such works we cannot enter into heaven (Rev 14:13).
Matthew 25:13-46 Tell us that we need to be ready for when Jesus returns. We do not know when that will be and when we become a Christian, we cannot just sit in a get our doctrine right, sit in a pew, memorize scriptures, expect an eternal home… We cannot neglect serving. And we cannot neglect the heart of God in our serving.
So the second lesson I learned, was that I was neglecting something…I was neglecting the heart of God in my serving. What about you? Check your heart by asking yourself what you may be neglecting when it comes to serving. I would love to read your comments below!