Pastor Joynt's Devotionals

Leading With a Just Heart: Day 4

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MATTHEW 23:13-14, 23

 

What is it that Jesus finds so objectionable in the leadership of the Pharisees? Hidden in these verses is a radical distinction. Jesus underlines the authority of Israel’s teachers when they are explicating God’s word. But he is upset that, in the name of piety and holiness, they have added dozens of additional commandments to the law. This has made the religious life impossible for ordinary people, and their struggle has left the leaders unmoved. Elsewhere, Jesus tells them to consider the prophetic text “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.” Concern for the burdens of others is primary, and if it is lacking, then formal adherence to rules will not suffice, and worship itself becomes empty.

Human beings, often out of good intentions, have often made following God arduous and complicated. Jesus’ teaching simplifies and redirects our course, guiding us away from obsession with our own piety and towards the needs of others.

 

Have you ever found the teaching of the church overly complicated?

What do you make of Jesus’ critique?

 

 

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Leading With a Just Heart Day 3

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ROMANS 3:9-12

 

The idea for Christian leadership is that teaching and life converge, that values and action coincide. It is God’s intention that His leaders have just hearts and live just lives.

But it is important to remember that leaders are imperfect. Every leader has flaws, blind spots, and weaknesses. Effective leadership and authentic teaching do not depend on the moral perfection of the leader. Thank goodness! In the 5th Century, when Rome was persecuting Christians, many followers, including many leaders, failed to be faithful in their professions of loyalty to Jesus. The question arose, can imperfect priests administer communion, or does their moral failure invalidate the sacrament. St. Augustine insisted, in what came to be called the Donatist Controversy, that the effectiveness of sacraments depended not on the integrity of priests but the all sufficient grace of God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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