v 23 What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith.
Oh dear – this litany of blindness continues! The characteristic on display today is the ability to focus on the trivial and ignore what is really important. Another way of looking at it is to say the Pharisees were careful in the extreme to DO what they saw as important – tithing their minutest income – and then ignoring the major matter of the kind of people they should be – fair, gracious and faithful.
Now, doing the right thing is important, don’t get me wrong, but being the right kind of person is much more significant. The DOING of things does make an impression, but qualities of character are the proper foundation for living the right kind of life. It was this kind of inner quality of life that the Pharisees lacked and which made them such a by-word for joy-less, self-centred living.
Think for a moment today however on where Jesus says this kind if living leads – What sorrow awaits you; Jesus says. Not only were these blind guides setting a bad example to others, but it was leading them on to a life of sorrow. The blind guide is missing out on the life of joy and peace that Jesus offers.
It is all too easy to focus on the trivia of life and be utterly blind to the grand purposes of fullness of life in following Jesus.