Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Missing the Bigger Picture

In today's Gospel reading (Mark 7:1-13), the Pharisees are offended because the disciples of Jesus don't stop to wash their hands before eating.  I can empathize. I've seen people eating with filthy hands, and it is disgusting to think of all the germs and possible other things they are getting onto their food. However, there are more important things than clean hands, as Jesus reminds us in this passage.

I think of all the commercials whose focus is on cleaning your house and keeping it free of things like dust and bacteria.  In fact, if you were an alien trying to gauge what is important to our culture, simply by watching commercials, the top ten list of things that "really matter" would go something like this: 1) Cleanliness; 2) Erectile function; 3) Food; 4) Menstruation; 5) Vehicles; 6) Shopping; 7) Toys; 8) Insurance; 9) Money; and last, but hardly least, 10) Prevention of pain or discomfort of any kind.  Yet most people probably wouldn't rate them as the top 10 concerns they have in life. These commercials focus on the details of life, while missing the bigger picture.

Jesus isn't telling us that we shouldn't wash our hands before eating.  We should. It's just a healthy habit.  However, what He is telling us is that there are bigger things to worry about than hand washing.  He wants us to worry more about heart washing, about keeping our soul clean.  If we keep a clean house, but neglect spending time with our kids to do so, we're missing the bigger picture.  The house will always need cleaning, the children won't always be children.  If we put aside money for our children's education, but neglect to teach them to know, love, and serve the Lord - we're missing the bigger picture.  If we invest our money in goods but not in people, we're also missing the bigger picture.  Money is meant for man, man is not meant for money.

Life is full of details, but what God cares about most is not how much money is in our bank account, what car we drive, or what our title is.  What God cares most about is how well we love one another, and ultimately that is the measure by which He will measure our lives.  Jesus is the master teacher, and like all good teachers do He has already given us the list of questions that will be on our final exam.  

Matthew 25:31-42

31 And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty. 32 And all nations shall be gathered together before him: and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. 34 Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, you blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in:36 Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. 37 Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see you hungry and fed you: thirsty and gave you drink? 38 Or when did we see you a stranger and took you in? Or naked and covered you? 39 Or when did we see you sick or in prison and came to you? 40 And the king answering shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me. 41 Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and hisangels42 For I was hungry and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty and you gave me not to drink. 43 I was a stranger and you took me not in: naked and you covered me not: sick and inprison and you did not visit me. 44 Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not minister to you? 45 Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen: I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me. 46 And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting.

Popular Posts