June 17, 2017
Love – Not Lip Service
June 17, 2017
This week’s sermon text: James 5:7-12
In today’s reading, Jesus draws a sharp line between human tradition and God’s commandments. As the passage opens, the Pharisees are criticizing Jesus’ disciples for not washing their hands before they eat, thus violating their religious traditions. Jesus calls them hypocrites, and quotes from Isaiah, “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” Ouch.
Jesus goes on to illustrate his point. Using one of the Ten Commandments, “honor your father and mother,” he says that people reject the commandment by honoring a human precept instead. They call something “Corban,” thus dedicating it to the use of God and rendering it unusable for human need. It’s just a clever way of withholding help while making it look like religious commitment.
Jesus’ interaction with the Pharisees reminds us that we should look carefully at our motives when we cling to rules and policies and points of view that violate God’s greatest commandments – to love God and love neighbor. May we offer true love, not lip service, to our Heavenly Father.
Questions for the Field
- Can you identify any religious traditions we cling to that violate God’s commandments?
- If so, which commandments do they violate?
- How can we bring our religious practices in line with God’s will?
Family Field Talk
- What are some of your family’s most important rules?
- How does it make you feel to follow the rules and make your family happy?
- Think about how you can make God happy by following his greatest rules – to love Him and to love other people.
Jesus, you showed us in word and deed what it looks like to live wholly committed to doing God’s will. Help us to know the difference between human tradition and God’s commandments, and to choose God’s will above all else. Amen.