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Worried about Leaven?

March 30, 2007

I must confess that I worry about the wrong things. I worry about attendance and numbers and maybe I should focus on weightier things.

In Mark 8:14-21 Jesus has a discussion with his disciples about leaven. Jesus has some powerful things to say to these followers that they miss. Let me just drop in the text for you perusal.

“Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”

Jesus is warning them about the religious, those who impose false rules and attempt to show they are closer to God not by their treatment of the least of these but instead by their ability to keep created laws.

I love what Jesus says to them when they are confused. They are worried about having enough bread and he tells them having enough bread isn’t the problem, Jesus can bring enough bread from nothing.

I wonder if we worry about the right things. Jesus cautions them about the religious and the damage that they bring to his body. How about the church today? Are we worried about the leaven of legalism and false religion? Are we fighting to keep a focus on created laws from our churches or are we worried about how much bread we will have?

How many churches allow legalism in their doors for fear that they won’t be able to pay the mortgage? How many fellowships are held in paralysis by those defending invented rules because of a fear that the numbers will fall, that there will be no bread?

What would you be willing to do to keep the leaven out of your fellowship? What would you do when you find yourself full of a church filled with leaven? I have a friend who knows to well. He has fought it all the while trying to get to a place that understands this leaven is destructive.

I haven’t heard but I am hoping that he has an answer that will get him away from the leaven. I think he could tell some stories of the destructive nature of this leaven.

What will you do? What is your situation? Is your fellowship not only willing to ignore leaven, does it promote those who bring such leaven into your midst?

I pray that we focus on what matters, keeping the leaven out, trusting that God can get us the bread we need.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 2, 2007 4:57 am

    The real question is do we cater to legalism?

    Bobby Valentine

  2. Jim Sexton permalink
    April 4, 2007 7:28 pm

    A little leaven is a good thing, so don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Leaven has it’s place, but when it gets out of control, literally everything around it gets blown out of proportion.

    Just as Jesus warned about the leaven, didn’t he also teach us to be salt, light, and an influence to all around us. Very leaven-like. Legalism tears our people apart, but so does ‘do what you like’.

    Balance. Moderation.

  3. April 4, 2007 9:22 pm

    I personally don’t think legalism exists as far as what we typically think.

    Luther created it to deal with the problems he saw and the Pharisee’s became the bad guys in his story.

    No Pharisee thought he was earning his way to heaven. Spiritual elitism was and is the problem. My way is the only right way because it is my way.

    Jim, we must impact our world but I was just going with what Jesus said at that moment and thinking of some situations I was seeing. It is not enough to be against something, we are called to be for or better put to be more like…

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