We love to criticize the Scribes and Pharisees. Until we see ourselves in them.
In Luke 20:45-47 Jesus is in Jerusalem, calling out the Scribes [Bible-scholar partners of the Pharisees] NOT because they weren’t trying hard to follow Torah and keep Israel focused on living for the true God – but because in their flesh and humanness, they had simply lost their way.
In verse 46, Jesus tells His closest followers to “watch out” for the Scribes – and then rips off a passionate list of what they were to “watch out” for. The line that caught my eyes and heart: “…they love greetings in the marketplace…” or as the Message paraphrases, “…they love to preen in the radiance of public flattery.”
The truth is, at times, so do I. Of course, I’m not going to be very obvious about how much I’m preening – in fact, I’m going to work hard at convincing you that I want to deflect all such praise and attention from myself because it wouldn’t be Godly to love it too much and it really isn’t about me and blah, blah, blah. But the fact is, often, I’m just like the Scribes. Especially on the days when I’m not really hearing the voice of my Abba calling me His beloved son – on those days I don’t just like the flattery…“I needs it, I wants it, I must have it because it’s my precious”.
And that’s really the point, isn’t it? The Scribes LOVED the greetings in the marketplace because they had lost touch with THE LOVE of God, their Father…the One who they knew in their minds had “inscribed their names on the very palm of His hands.” But as the old saying goes, the twelve inches between our brains and our hearts is a long road indeed.
So today, I’m not going to shame or beat myself up about the truth that sometimes “I just love me some attention.” I’m going to let that fact remind me that what I really want, what I really love, what is really precious to me and what I truly cannot live without…is hearing my Abba’s voice saying, “I love you, son. I’ve got you. You’re Mine. Stay close to Me and let Me fill you with My love, affirmation and attention this day. I promise you, son… it will be enough.”