suppose every one of us knows
someone who is "stuck up," someone who makes us feel less important than
they, less human than they. Some of these people might be ones we
admire. They seem to have it all together — manicured lawn,
neat-as-a-pin house, designer clothes, beautiful children, fancy cars.
They have all the right toys, the cool T-shirts, the name brand jeans
and shoes and jackets. Yet, when you try to make friends with these
people, you get the distinct impression that, well, they can't be
bothered. They don't have the time for you. They would be doing you a
favor by being your friend. And, that makes you feel second-class.
Today's scripture lesson is about two people, both of whom believed in
God, both of whom worshiped God.
One was a first-class citizen, an elite member of society. This was a
person who, by all measures, we should admire. He participated in the
worship services of his church: Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday
night prayer meetings. If there was a special service, he was there. He
often served as worship leader, or ushered. He attended Sunday School,
even taught now and then. He was on the Church Council, and served on
one of the Annual Conference committees. If something needed to be done
around the church, he did it. He gave generously to the church, 10
percent — of everything. Most people in American churches give less than
1% of their income to their church. His minister had suggested giving 5%
only of your net earnings. But this man gave the entire 10% tithe of
everything he earned — from his stock options, savings interest,
Certificates of Deposit, rentals he owned — everything.
Fred Craddock has pointed out
that "the Pharisee was a faithful man, the kind that puts his tithe in
the offering plate to support the pastor's salary so that the pastor can
preach a sermon on the Pharisee and the tax collector!" ...Subscribers:
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