Facts of the Matter

A weekly letter of encouragement and challenge to business and professional men and women
Wednesday, December 13, 2000
Dear Colleagues,


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Good Morning!

When it comes to “ministering” to others, there seem to be two types of people: The “Phony Baloney types, and the “Genuine Article types.    Into which category do you fall? Here’s an inventory:

 SELF-PROMOTING: Do you promote yourself as a spiritual authority, or do you unobtrusively serve others in the Name of Christ?

“The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses…They love to sit at the head table at church dinners, basking in the most prominent positions, preening in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called ‘Doctor’ and ‘Reverend.’ Don’t let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates.”   (Matt. 23:2 [NIV],6-8 [The Message])

OPPRESSIVE: Do you impose unnecessary burdens and “standards of performance” on others?  Or do you seek to liberate people from spiritual bondage and legalism?

“They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.”  (Matt. 23:4)

RELIGIOUS” :  Do you parade your  piety?  Or do you  obscurely pray, give,  and serve?

“Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery prayers the next.” (Matt. 23:5 -The Message)

 SIDETRACKED:  Do you major on the minors? Or are you focused on the important issues?

“…You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but on the meat of God’s Law, things like fairness and compassion and commitment—the absolute basics!—you carelessly take it or leave it.”  (Matt. 23:23b – The Message)

HYPOTICRITICAL: Do you project one image while living another? Or are your profession and your practice the “genuine article”?

“The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God’s Law. You won’t go wrong in following their teachings on Moses. But be careful about following them. They talk a good line, but they don’t live it. They don’t take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It’s all spit-and-polish veneer.

The teachers of the law and Pharisees “are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”  (Matt. 23:2,3 – The Message; 23:27, 28 – NIV )


My prayer is that you are having a great week!

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