23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. Matthew 23:23-24
The religious leaders were probably meticulous about their giving and felt magnanimous when they gave that little extra.
But Jesus really wasn’t concerned about how much they gave because their giving was misplaced. The more important qualities were justice, mercy, and faithfulness. From all that I’ve read, the leaders were cold, heart-hearted jerks who only cared for themselves and how they were viewed by others.
It’s probably a lesson for us all that we can be generous but neglect the more important aspects of faith. After all, giving is easy, but showing mercy to those who don’t deserve it? That’s a tough one. I mean, people can be mean and ornery and downright nasty. I can think of three or four people who fit this description right now.
Sometimes we can be all of those things too. God certainly had mercy on us.
It doesn’t make it easy (and there are always exceptions to the rule), but we should at least consider the alternative.
What will we become if we don’t show mercy, faithfulness, and justice?
And what do these three qualities look like for you?