I was walking last week, early in the morning. I wore my new “Under Armour” shirt with its hood and long sleeves. I had on long pants, socks, shoes. I was totally protected against those early morning bugs and mosquitoes. My MP3 player was resounding with worship and praise music. I was away from anyone who could hear me, so I was singing aloud and praising my Lord. It was a great morning. Until a bug flew in my mouth.
Apparently the one part of my being left vulnerable to those early morning bugs was an open mouth. After I got over the initial shock of having a bug in my mouth, I did eventually laugh. I thought maybe I need a filter on my mouth – for what might fly in as well as for what might fly out! I also remembered Jesus’ “woe” to the Pharisees and teacher of the law. Hard not to remember when you are trying to “strain out a gnat!”
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices-mint, dill and cummin. 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. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.” [Matthew 23:23-24]
Jesus was angry with those teachers and leaders for focusing on “gnat-like” issues rather than the weighty issues. They were consumed with how much of their spices they should tithe rather than important issues of justice, mercy and faithfulness. He called them hypocrites for their attitudes and lifestyles.
Are we so much different? We focus on the minor and ignore the important matters just as much as they did. Oft times we are more bothered by what someone is wearing rather than the condition of their heart. Let’s be aware of the minor things, but never, ever, ignore justice, mercy and faithfulness.