Ritual faith needs to become in-ward and other-wardI once read a story about a rich young prince who gave a basket full of rotten food to a poor beggar. The poor man received the basket with a smile and left the palace, emptied the basket of its content and cleaned it. He put beautiful flowers in it, returned it to the palace and gave it to the prince.
The young prince was surprised and asks the beggar "I gave you a basket full of rotten things and you bring it back filled with beautiful flowers. Why?"
The poor man replied with a smile "Every human being gives what is in his heart"
As we take part in God's mission in 2018, it is critical to pause and introspect our in-ward faith. Jesus used an imagery of a cup or a dish to demonstrate the importance of man and rituals in His mission. We are cups or dishes (more like vessels) that God created to use for His mission. He uses vessels to demonstrate His love to the world. Cleaning (as ritual) the vessels is good but it must be done both inside and outside, to serve its purpose well. Cleaning outside only would not make the vessel eligible for its work. The problem that the Pharisees had was to concentrate on some rituals or laws which according to Jesus were less important. The law of tithe is an out-ward ritual which is important but it must be completed with the in-ward ritual faith of love, justice, merciful and compassionate to the poor and the needy.
If we concentrate on the out-ward rituals, it will be like cleaning the cup or the dish outside only. How useless is it, to wash the outside of a cup while leaving the inside dirty! If the inside is dirty, whatever is in the cup will be dirty too and unfit to drink. God who has created the cup, he needs it clean both in and outside to use it well.
It is not only stretching out your hand (in giving) which is important. Jesus is saying your heart is involved and it determines what you are giving. The rich young prince offered what was in his heart despite the riches he had.
Friends, let us have God's love in our hearts as we take part in His mission. Amen!
|Then the Lord said to him, "Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But give what is inside the dish to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. 42 "Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone. (Luke11:39-42)|
Faresy Sakala, wife to Misheck, mother to Robson, Rose and Ronald and a minister at Trinity -- Gweru Presbyterian Church. Overwhelmed with duties, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!"