“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? [Matthew 23:16-19 ESV]
Here is the way that The Message presents a part of this passage:
What difference does it make if you make your promise inside or outside a house of worship? A promise is a promise. God is present, watching and holding you to account regardless.Such is the strange logic of those caught up in the religious legalities.
These delineate behaviors that take place inside of church from those out in the world.
One of my friends used to complain about how different some Christians act in business.
Sadly these seem to have embraced a mentality that divorces sacred and secular behavior.
Sometimes folks like these are known as Sunday morning Christians.
Folks who say all the right things but do not walk the talk.
Jesus cuts through the religious wranglings with just a few words.
He focuses on why our word or promise is sacred.
Not because of value of the gold backing it but because of God's presence when we promise.
This is true of everything we do - God is ever present in our lives.
Our behavior should reflect that consistency - our word should be our bond.
Our character should reflect that of Christ - our word should be sacred.
Keep me from rash promises Lord. Help me to know when to say yes and when to say no.
... this devotion is part of the Red Letters series. Click here to read more.