Monday, February 16, 2009

Pharisaism Exposed.

We sing this song at camp.  It's been a favorite of the younger ages for a long time.
One of the verses sings, "I don't want to be a Pharisee (x2).  Cause they're not fair you see."  
Mostly, I think we sing this song literally.  Translation then: "I don't want to be a Jewish teacher of the law."  My response then: "Sweet, I'm not.  Nor do I ever see myself being, thus I am exempt from the message of this song." 
Amidst my realigning this morning (that's for Laura), I was reading Matthew 23 and 24.  This passage discusses the errors of the actions of the Pharisees.  As I read the condemnation of the actions of the Pharissees I realized that when not taken literally, I am far from exempt from the message of that song.  
I am in fact a Pharisee.  
The text discusses at length, with many different metaphors, how the Pharisees spend all of their time making sure their outward appearance is clean and shiny while their hearts are thick with mud.  
Jesus accuses them of being double minded.  Their actions fit the bill but their motive is highly impure.  Jesus calls them on this, damning them at the same time.
I've been recently convicted of my motive behind ministry.  I've never gone so far as to view it as an avenue into heaven, but it has become automatic for me.  
I've been a part of ministry all my life.  Daughter of a minister since day 1.  As time went on opportunites arose for me to become the minister.  Children's ministry, youth ministry, camp ministry, music ministry were all at my disposal.  Since I was naturally gregarious, I partook and I fit the part well.
Only now, through my regular children's ministry and academic study of such, am I realizing that there is responsibility that goes along with ministering.  The spiritual well-being of these children is daily and weekly being placed in my hands.  Is there ever a point at which I can take that lightly?  Some might say no but I did for 8 years.  Never once did I think there was more to what I was doing than filling the time and sending them home.  But I was good at it and I looked good. 
Now however, as I realize the incredible responsiblity I have to spiritually guide, nurture and love these children, I feel sick whenever I have to do so.  Lucky for me, I am, at the same time, understanding the grace that goes along with God asking you to do his work.  He realizes that you are weak and small.  He never asks you to be able to spiritually guide, nurture and love anyone with your own strength.  That's the point.  It's not me.  
What a relief.  
I don't want to be a Pharisee.   But I am.  Thanks be to God, though, I can get out of it.  
At the end of Matt. 24 he writes, "Who is then the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at he proper time?  Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes."  
I believe that this is what God has asked me to do.  By his grace I will do it until the day he comes and finds me fulfilling his will.  
By his grace I will hear, "well done."

No comments: