They preach, but do not practice.

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you—but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others.

The phrases "Practice what you preach" and "Do as I say, not as I do" have their roots in this passage. The phrase expounds a bit on what Jesus means when he often calls these scribes and Pharisees hypocrites. For example, it is hypocritical for a religious leader to instruct their followers to give sacrificially and then live lavish lives that seem to fly in the face of what they say. So often these folks embrace a sense of entitlement and feel that they are not obligated to live by many of the words they preach.

This sort of flagrant entitlement has its roots in the dark motives of these elders. They do things that attract attention to themselves - they want to be seen by men. Such is the darkness that seduces many who are drawn to public ministry. Sadly, many of these are drawn to pastoral ministry not to minister to hurting people but to stand in pulpits and be seen by others. Much of their schedules are filled with activities that draw attention to themselves. Jesus tells his listeners, and us, to not do what they do.

Help me Lord to be invisible and to not do things to be seen by others.

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