We talked about the “weightier matters” in Bible class last night. About how the Pharisees and scribes were neglecting them in their concentration on the superficial details. I see that happening—meaning both I understand how that could happen and I actually see that happening, a lot. People want to look godly but they don’t necessarily want to be godly. They’ll change simple behaviors but not attitudes.
I think Henderson gets flack sometimes for being a church that’s traditionally been heavy on exteriors, but while our guest speaker was talking I couldn’t help but think how much preaching we get on interiors and how much importance has been placed on “weightier matters.” “Justice, mercy, and faithfulness” are familiar words for Henderson members. We know that God calls for justice—for respect shown to all His people. We know that God calls for mercy—for His people to extend to others the forgiveness He’s extended to us. And I think we know that God calls for faithfulness—for trusting hearts that don’t doubt God’s identity or His ability. As a church we’re seeking out the “weightier matters” and I think we’re growing because of it.
And interestingly—although not surprisingly—that commitment to those big, internal things is leading to growth in the exterior stuff, too. We’re more faithful in attendance—we actually want to meet God and His people. We’re more generous in our giving—we can’t help but give back to the God Who’s given so much to us. We even get excited about dressing modestly (crazy, right?) because we want, more than anything, to bring attention to God in us and not to us.
In Matthew 23:23, after Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for concentrating on the small stuff. He says, “These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” The point being that we don’t trade externals for internals. From my experience, though, it seems that a true focus on justice, mercy, and faithfulness trickles down—it’s like blood pumped from the heart and circulated out to the farthest extremities. A change of heart changes the hands.