Today’s chapter is one where I actually can take a break from the ‘whirlwind’ book of Mark, as it is one where there are lessons to learn, but nothing as exciting as the last few chapters. Having said that, it is the word of God, and there is always something valuable to learn. I have 3 points from this chapter, but all towards the end. The first few sections are all about the Pharisees trying to catch Jesus out, which just ends up showing them as sinful, which upsets them even more. Anyhow, here are the 3 points which I got out of today’s chapter.
Love is the most important commandment. There is much in the Bible about love, and Jesus leaves no doubt that it is important. Unfortunately we see very little about it today, and when we do hear about it, people generally get it wrong. Lust is not love. Sexual activity is often portrayed as love, this is in fact not true. It should be, but it is not. Acceptance is not love. This is a big issue. We are lead to believe that if we don’t accept people’s sin, we don’t love them. This is complete rubbish. The Bible actually says that if we don’t encourage people to stop sinning, we actually hate them. Leviticus 19 v 17. Do not nurse hatred in your heart for any of your relatives. Confront people directly so you will not be held guilty for their sin. This pretty much says that if we don’t confront people on their sin, it means that we hate them. Wow. We’re told that if we accept sin, then #lovewins, however the Bible say that accepting sin means that #hatewins. I’ll leave you to ponder that now that I have let the worms out of the can.
Hypocritical teachers. This is something that Jesus pointed out, and we’re quick to point fingers at the Pharisees, but does this relate to any of us. Yes, it talks about teachers, but how do we all handle this? Do you say one thing and do another? Do we act ‘holier than thou’ at church, but lie, cheat and deceive at work during the week? I try and be the same person throughout. Christian people often think that I am a bit rough and blunt and my business associates think that I am a saint, but if I were in the same room as both of them, I would be as I usually am. I don’t act differently when I think people are watching. Even this blog, I try to be honest with where I am. If I post something here to teach you, and I don’t put it into practice, my wife will call me on it. It is good that she does that, because I don’t want to be a hypocrite. What do you do that could be hypocritical? Is there anything in your life that you need to be more consistent on, regardless of your present company? I’ll leave you to decide.
God wants our heart, not our money. This is an age old dispute. People say that God hates money, that He doesn’t love the rich, that it is a sin to have money. That is beyond complete nonsense. The thing is that God does want to see us blessed, and He wants to see us bless others. The reason why we are told to give, other than to bless others, is that God knows the hold that money can have on us. People often say that the rich love money, and the poor don’t, I beg to differ. If I had the money that Bill Gates has, I would have no issue giving away millions. If I had no money (which is closer to the truth), and God asked me to give just £50, how would that affect me? I find it harder to give, when I don’t have, than when I do. A little money is precious when it is all you have. That is why Jesus says what He does about the widow. “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on”. Jesus isn’t interested in getting our money, He is interested in us trusting Him. That is what this woman showed, and that is what He responded to. Do we trust God to this degree? I do try, and I am on a journey to do this more, but sometimes I struggle. How about you?
Until next week.