March 10, 2020 (TUESDAY) - Walking the Talk - A Reflection on Matthew 23:1-12

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father—the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

A fairly successful businessman walked into his church one day, and as he sat in one of the pews to pray, he noticed a woman cleaning the church. She swept and swabbed the floor, dusted and wiped down the pews, picked up and collected the trash, and he was very impressed both by her industriousness and her demeanor, which was cheerful. He though the could help her to find better employment, perhaps in his own organization. 

So, he approached her and gave her his card, asking her to contact him; he might have a better job offer for her. She smiled at him gratefully, told him she appreciated his gesture, and pocketed the card. After the service was over, the businessman was about to get into his car when he noticed the woman opening the door to a brand new Mercedes. “Whose car is that?”, he asked. “Oh, mine,” she replied. “I have three more just like this” And, flashing a dazzling smile, she sped away.

I hear stories like this all the time, and I am sure that you do too. Stories about great people — men and women — who exhibit remarkable humility. I find myself very impressed with them. And, again, I am sure that you are too. So, why don’t we be like them? Especially, because we have the added incentive of our Lord’s appreciation. He doesn’t like the proud. However, he loves the humble and always speaks about how they will be raised.

He himself was remarkably humble. One day, he dropped to his knees before sinful man and washed his feet. I find it incredible. And after he had washed his apostles feet he asked them: “Do you understand what I have done? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”

And that is one thing, among many, that I really love about Jesus. He never, ever told anybody to do anything that he hadn’t done himself. Now contrast him with the Pharisees. They always wanted honor, recognition, respect. But worse, they made people do things that they, themselves, didn’t do. So, who would you rather follow? Jesus or the Pharisees? Jesus, right? 

So, if we want to be good leaders, who should WE be like?