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Daily Meditations

from the book -

The Daily Devotional

for the 21st Century!

 

Today's subject: LEADERSHIP

 

Titles under this subject-

Perils for Preachers-Jan 15

Talk of the Town-Feb 18

Rat Race-Feb 21

Leaders' Plight-Mar 5

Delight or Drudgery?-Mar 11

Black Money-Apr 22

Learning from Leaders-May 4

Kings & Priests-Jun 11

Eyeball on your Call!-Jul 3

Utter Confusion!-Aug 7

Evangelistic Exaggerations-Aug 14

Rules of the Game-Sep 2

Wolves in Woollen Suit!-Oct 12

Majoring on Minors!-Oct 21

 

(General Index of  Subjects)

 

Previous Day

October 21

Next Day

Majoring on Minors!


Reading: Matthew 23:16-28

"You strain out a gnat and swallow a camel" (Mt 23:24)


 

Jesus used this proverb in His last sermon while rebuking the hypocritical religion of His day which emphasized the externals and evaded the essentials. Gnats were perhaps smallest among flies. The camel was the largest land animal in Palestine and ritually unclean.

Jesus is seen terribly angry in the entire 23rd chapter of Matthew. He pronounces "woe" atleast eight times. He addressed the religious leaders as "hypocrites, blind guides and fools." Today's Christianity is not much different from the Jewish religion of Christ's day. We can only follow what our leaders preach and not what they practise (Mt 23:3). The leaders are hard on people but soft on themselves (v4). They wear special dresses for recognition (v5). They are after titles and positions (vv 6-12). When the leaders stop growing in the things of God, they would block the growth of the people also (v13). Preachers rob widows and the suffering using their prayers (v14). Pastors are more anxious about the numerical growth of their congregations than the spiritual health of the members (v15). Rituals and traditions are more important than realities and truth (vv 16-22). Pastors will be displeased with believers who don't pay tithes, but they will not motivate them for social work and charity (v23). And so on.

If Jesus were here to preach in our Churches, I imagine He would say something like this: "Woe to you hypocrites! You think that flash photography and video-shooting inside the Church building will desecrate it, but seek police protection for your committee meetings! ... Woe to you hypocrites! You preach against wearing of jewels, but hoard money in banks for three generations!..."

The "touch-not...taste-not...handle-not" religion is alien to New Testament Christianity (Col 2:21). Eventhough the Israelites had come out of Egypt, Egypt had not come out of them. So it is with us. Christ has delivered us from the Law and brought us into His glorious liberty through His death (Gal 5:1). But we are still embracing legalism and living the Old Testament life in the New Testament era. Legalism blinds us so much that we cannot see even a big animal like camel! We would be living in self-deception that we are so strict even about a matter so small as a gnat!

More purity give me, more strength to o'ercome;

More freedom from earth-stains, more longings for Home;

More fit for the Kingdom, more used would I be,

More blessed and holy, more, Saviour, like Thee!

                      (Philip P. Bliss, 1838-1876, an associate of D.L. Moody)

 


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Leadership: FirstJAN 15