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 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.
Matthew 23:3-10 (New International Version)
As a faith follower of Jesus Christ, we are called to serve Him in every aspect of our lives. However, in our service to the King of Kings, we must ask a very important question. What is our motivation for serving the Lord?
Pharisees: Master’s of the Law
In Jesus’s time, the Pharisees were masters of God’s law. They knew the word of God inside and out. Therefore, Jesus told his followers that whatever the Pharisee said to do in regards to God’s word, they ought to do it.
Not Practicing What They Preach
However, Jesus warned that although the Pharisees knew God’s Law, they didn’t put its statutes to practice. In other words, they didn’t practice what they taught to the people. As a result, their relationship with God was superficial. How is it, that the Pharisees, who knew what God said they ought to do, instead decide not to apply His words to their lives?
Honor For One’s Self
The Pharisees fell into the trap that even followers of Christ fall into. They serve in the community not because they wish to honor God, but because they want the honor for themselves. They want to be viewed as someone who is important and deserves recognition. As proof of their importance, they show off all their “righteous” acts that they have done in the “name of the Lord;” whether that be giving a large donation or feeding the homeless.
God is not Fooled
Most people are fooled by this mask of righteousness that people wear. As a result, these super-religious people gain prestige and respect from the community. However, God is not fooled by our masks. He looks deeper into a person’s soul and no matter how “righteous” one looks on the outside, deep down, their hearts are full of unrighteousness and selfish pride. Superficial righteousness does not impress the Almighty.
Honoring the Lord
It is not the favor of people that we ought to seek. Instead, the one that we need to please is the Lord God. In Him alone, we find prestige and honor that goes beyond the honor people give to us. How do we honor the Lord?
Reading His Bible
The answer is found in His Holy Bible. It is more than a book that we must read. It is in His Scriptures that we find how to honor God by what we do, and how to live a truly righteous life.
Practice What You Preach
It is time for us to put away the mask of righteousness that we have placed upon ourselves and strive to honor the Lord not just by our actions, but with our hearts as well. We must take what the Lord speaks to us in His Bible and put them into practice. When we do so, His light will shine brightly in all our actions and others will be drawn to our light, for they desire to know the source of our Light. When we serve, we must do it with God in mind.