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April 23, 2008

It seems to me that in many ways American Christianity is not much different than the Pharisee and Scribe ran institution that we find in the New Testament. A bunch of traditions that often kept people from doing what God actually instructed.

In Mark 7 we find these Pharisees and Scribes upset because Jesus and his disciples didn’t follow proper ceremonial cleansing practices before they ate. They are upset that they don’t follow the traditions of the elders.

How many traditions of the elders do we have today? Later in Mark 7:9-13 Jesus points out that they use something called Corban’ to keep from supporting their parents. Corban was the idea that the amount is given to God. The person would commit it to the temple and once doing so could not use it for any other means.

How could anyone argue about someone committing such a sum to God’s Temple? Sounds pretty holy to me. I’d love to help you out mom and dad but I have committed my life savings to God so I can’t. I mean they were committing it to God. No wonder they thought it would be okay.

The issue Jesus has is not with giving to the temple but instead neglecting a command of God for a tradition of man. Keep in mind it was a tradition for God. A tradition created so that people couldn’t go back on what they committed to give. I know some building programs that would probably love such a rule.

And that to me is the point. How many buildings are built for God’s work? How much do we commit to our building programs? Hey it is committed to God. How many staff positions are committed to God’s work? We need a Director of Sports and Athletics because God’s people need a place of release and a safe place to learn about sports.

Okay but are you sure that isn’t Corban? God says care for the widow, the orphan, the poor and alien. Those are his commands as well. How many people ignore those in need because everything is committed elsewhere? Explain to me the difference. A command of God is neglected for a tradition of man. You do know that large staffs and big buildings are a tradition right?

These guys couldn’t support their parents because they had set the money aside for other works of God. Jesus points out that they are making void the word of God because they won’t keep His command. The hard question is are they the same? If so what should we do about it? Should we ask who isn’t being supported because of how we spend ours?

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