I don’t know about your household, but in ours the hours between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Sunday morning is the most stressful time of the week. Since my husband is a pastor, he’s out the door hours before the rest of us. So it’s up to me to get everyone fed, dressed, and to church — on time.

On Sunday morning, I’m supposed to be preparing myself for worship but my attitude is anything but reverent. My patience wears thin. My tone becomes snappy. I’m on edge. And if there’s a potluck after church? Lord, help us all.

This is precisely what Jesus warns against in Matthew 23. His seven “woes” to the teachers of the law and Pharisees center on condemning the leaders’ attitudes. They did all the “right” religious things. They performed rituals, made converts, tithed — and probably got to church on time. They did all this in the name of God, but they totally missed the point. They got hung up on semantics. Their hearts weren’t filled with justice, mercy, or faithfulness. They got caught up with the “doing” of the law and neglected why it was important.

Praying, reading the Bible, attending and being involved in church, memorizing Scripture, tithing regularly, and evangelism are all good things! But maybe it’s time to examine our hearts — in doing these things, have we neglected mercy and justice and faithfulness? Have we missed the point?

Dear Lord, thank you for your mercy and grace. Thank you that you have never-ending patience for me. Forgive me when I get caught up in the “doing;” change my attitude. Help me to keep what’s important in mind, and do things out of love and obedience to you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Go Deeper — What is your attitude by the time you get to church? What can you do to allow you, and your family, time to prepare to worship?

Read Further — If sometimes you feel going to church is not worth the headache and the hassle, read this.

Tags: Grace and Mercy Matthew 23
Photo Credit: Kien Do