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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Lent 2016--Day Thirty-Two

Luke 20:46-47 “Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 47 They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”(RSV)

Jesus spoke these harsh words against the most visibly religious group found in the synagogue. They were religious and they wanted everybody to know it. 

We still have people like that. People who are dedicated, but mostly they are dedicated to their own appearance of righteousness. They want everyone to know how much they studied and how much they gave in the offering. At Easter they relish sharing the sacrifices they made and what they gave up for Lent. 

Beware of that kind of testimony: When it means we are getting the glory, there is not much left for the Lord. 

I have known some someone who witnessed like that. It is sad that she gave up eating bread and shared the message so prominently that nobody enjoyed the meal because this one is so miserable. I got the impression she would have a purer testimony if she had not mentioned her sacrifice. At least the Grace at the beginning would not have put everyone on a guilt trip.

In another place Jesus advised those who fast, to wash their face and be cheerful in the face of deprivation so their praise was solid and gracious. If you are making a sacrifice voluntarily, don't moan about it and lament. Let it be a joyful thing.