Blessed… Oops, You Forgot!

“How terrible it will be for you legal experts and Pharisees! Hypocrites! You give to God a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, but you forget about the more important matters of the Law: justice, peace, and faith. You ought to give a tenth but without forgetting about those more important matters. You blind guides! You filter out an ant but swallow a camel” (Matthew 23:23-24, Common English Bible).

In reading this lesson it would seem that mint, dill, and cumin was pretty important, something to be valued during Jesus’ day. After all, if you are going to tithe something (remember the word tithe means tenth), it would probably be something important to you.

For many of us, our time and/or our money is among the most important commodities in our possession. For some of us, our time is more valuable. For others, our money is more valuable. If we tithe either or both we are giving something that is important to us. It is something that makes a difference in my life. I remember when I when my boys were in athletics or band, Cindy and me, as parents were expected to work the concession stand at various school events either the sports program or the band would use as a fund raising project. I was always far more willing to give of my money than to give of my time.

But all that is beside Jesus’ point. He is saying to the Pharisees and legal experts, “You give your tithes (in their case produce) but you forget the thing that is really important. You forget peace, justice, and faith.” If you have no faith in your life, you can do a reverse tithe, give 90 percent and keep ten to live on and it doesn’t matter at all.

Yes, our talents and our treasures are important. Our time is important and we do need to good stewards of these and other resources God gives to us. At the same time, we also have to work for peace and justice while living out our faith.

The things that really matter us are the things we find important. If we find justice important, we will find time for it. If we find peace important, we will find ways to speak the truth about peace, in love. If faith is important we seek ways of living out our faith in the community and the world, including living it out by being part of a faithful worshipping community.

Unfortunately, many of us don’t even do as well as the Pharisees and legal experts. We don’t tithe and we don’t work for justice, peace, and faith.

All this really wasn’t new to the Jews of Jesus’ day and we shouldn’t think it new either. I am reminded of a verse of scripture from the Prophet Micah. “He has told you, human one, what is good and what the Lord requires from you: to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8, Common English Bible).

I see parallels in Micah’s words and Jesus’ words. To do justice, well that one is pretty obvious.  Embrace faithful love, if we are doing that peace will automatically be a byproduct. And to walk humbly with your God? Well, that is being faithful.

No, it wasn’t then and it isn’t now something new to learn. We should know already. The real question for us is, will we work for justice, peace, and faith?

How do you work for justice, peace, and faith?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Thanksgiving,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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