November 10

Mark 12:38-40

“They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.” vs. 40

Jesus had little regard for the scribes, the legal experts of his day. They were attentive to the details of the written law and the appearances of religion but their hearts were far from God. For them prayers and rituals were simply a way to win favor with people and reinforce their position in the community. We don’t have to go far to find their clones in our world. Our politicians and leaders often adopt an appearance of religion in an effort to win the support of constituents. In moments  of crisis they speak of prayer and faith and they love to appear on platforms with celebrity pastors and evangelists. All too often their pious talk is a cover for their own self-serving agendas. While there are undoubtedly exceptions to these fraudulent behaviors, we’ve learned from experience to take such religiosity with a grain of salt. Jesus advises skepticism in dealing with such folks. They give praises to God with their lips but that’s the extent of it…and they certainly don’t merit our trust. Of course politicians aren’t the only hypocrites on the planet…many of us are skilled at keeping up appearances and using piety to impress our peers. We need regular reminders that God is no fool…and our fraudulent behaviors will eventually be exposed.

Thought for the Day: What do I do to maintain a pious image?

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