A message contrasting God’s pure, unblemished strength & authority with the way humans corrupt these blessings, based on Matthew 23:1-12 (Proper 26A).
After the Pharisees had finished arguing with Jesus he was able to teach the disciples/people.
- The key to understanding the Pharisees is that they were politicians!
- Many people justifiably fear human power and authority, from experience; sadly, they assume that God will be like that, so they fear or reject God.
Teaching on Authority
Jesus teaches us to obey the religious leaders, but not to live like them. They have compromised their principles to gain and keep power.
- Instead, we are to avoid worldly power and status, seek service and be modest.
- Yesterday was All Saints Day, when we traditionally celebrate the heroes of the Faith. Some were powerful leaders, some suffered terrible things. All served.
- How do we understand this? What should we do? Is there a balance?
A Poem about Strength
The Prayer of an Unknown Confederate Soldier:
I asked God for strength that I might achieve.
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy.
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.
Conclusion & Application
So, human power is not the answer. This is good news for us who are powerless! Yet we are not powerless, we:
- Have the power to build up or tear down with our words.
- Can welcome or reject new people.
- May smile or frown, encourage and sympathise or ignore.
- Can pray, lift others to God for blessing, or fail to do so.
We are still responsible to God for our attitudes, words and actions.