Matthew 23:1-12 / Mark 12:38-40 / Luke 20:45-47…
Who you are following matters. Who and how you lead matters. Being a disciple means submitting to a higher authority who serves as your teacher, guide, and leader. The warning of Jesus addresses the dangers of discipleship as practiced by the Jews of His day, and also exposes the critical danger threatening the church and its disciples today. Actions speak louder than words. But words help people to understand actions. And we are called to have both.
Jesus said that as long as the people in power would agree with the law of God, you are to do what they teach. But He also tells them that they are to be careful who they follow and how they follow them. Like many, there was a difference between their words and their works. They could tell you what the Word of God said, but they themselves do not do it.
They are hypocrites. They don’t practice what they preach. Look at how Jesus speaks of them, and relate that to today. The application is clear. They are taskmasters who won’t even take up the task themselves. They are showmen without shame. They want the spotlight on their spirituality. They are tickled by hearing their titles. Do we see that today?
This isn’t just about spiritual leaders; it applies to all our desire for recognition, especially if we have not merited the mention. People can acclaim you, and that isn’t bad in itself. It is when we seek their approval instead of God’s that we fall into this snare. Have you looked in the mirror?
Jesus tells His disciples to avoid such things. Leave the accolades to the actors, and the self-promotion to the sanctimonious. The truly great one spiritually is the person who serves with humility. This is the person who doesn’t have to exalt themself. God takes care of that, in His own time and His own way. If you don’t believe that, it is because you lack a humble trust.