Mark 8:14-21 Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”
I am sure it was frustrating to Jesus that no matter how long his disciples were with Him and heard Him speak that they still didn’t understand Him and I am sure there are plenty of times now when He looks down and wonders how we can have it all in writing right in front of us and still miss what is important to Him. The Pharisees were always trying to trip Jesus up on some minor law or rule, they were so busy focusing on the “minor” things that they missed the fact that they had the Son of God in their presence. They were so eager to prove themselves better by having some sort of high legalistic standard and missed out on God Himself! Wow!
We can look at the Pharisees and recognize their hyper religious standards but do we ever do things like that? Does Jesus look down and wonder what our hang up is over stupid minor things when we are missing out on God Himself? Be careful that you are not becoming Pharisee like by analyzing and scrutinizing everything and everyone around you to the point of missing out on God! There are so many things that I have seen Christians get caught up in worrying over that are minor issues and they miss out on the more important things like showing God’s love, mercy and grace. The Pharisees were more concerned about “looking” spiritual and totally missed out – don’t let that be you. Besides, usually when we are so concerned with others flaws it is because we know we have an area of our own we need to take care of and somehow we find it easier to focus on someone else.
We need to concern ourselves with the things that Jesus concerned Himself with. Our first concern should be the Gospel of Christ and whether or not the people around us see that displayed in our everyday lives. Do we reflect Jesus or do we reflect a list of rules that we want everyone to follow in order for them to meet our standard? We need to remember that it isn’t “our” standard that matters, it is God’s and He is the only one who can convict others of sin in their lives. We need to do as Jesus did and love people where they are. Over and over we have examples of Jesus showing love and concern for people who didn’t “deserve” His love and attention as far as the “people’s standard” was concerned. He won them over and influenced their lives through grace, mercy and love. The one who could have stood and condemned chose to love people into his graces instead so who are we to require others to meet the standards we feel need to be met in order to be “spiritual”. Even Jesus disciples were considered to be a bit of a ragamuffin group and yet they accomplished great things without meeting the Pharisees standards of legalistic laws.
I would encourage you today to pray and ask God if there are areas you are focussing on the minor things and missing out on the major things of God! Ask Him also to show you if you are lax in areas that you should be more concerned about. Our testimonies need to be Christlike, not Pharisee like and certainly not rebellious while claiming “freedom in Christ.” Ask God to give you the discernment today to know what is truly important to Him in your walk with Him and what is out of balance.
Quote: “The doors of wisdom are never shut.” Ben Franklin