Our scripture this week is Matthew 23:1-12.

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father–the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

Jesus teaches us to humble ourselves before God and others. By offering ourselves as servants we are able to reach out with His love to those in need and show them the joy of a connection with God. This is the blessing and the command to those who follow Jesus.

We are warned against pride that steals the meaning of our efforts, feeling that we have accomplished something when it is only due to God’s gifts. Jesus says of the Pharisees “they do all their deeds to be seen by others” (v. 5), a sad commentary on their motivation. It is done not to help others or to please God but only to increase their own standing in the community.

We need to understand that what the world thinks of us isn’t important. The world can’t save us! Only our repentance and acceptance of Christ’s pardon can bring us to eternal life.

Loving Lord, we are sorry when our pride overrides our love. Help us to be the humble servants You intend, serving You and each other. Amen.

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