“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” (Matthew 23:23)
Sometimes in the Christian life it’s easy to put all our effort into our “vertical” relationship with God and feel like we’re doing just fine.
So, we pray a lot. We read our Bible. We tithe. In fact, we do all the good things the Pharisees did.
To be sure, they are all good things. Jesus affirmed the vertical life of the Pharisees by saying “these you ought to have done,” but though they were apparently quite careful to be good to God, Jesus sharply rebuked them for what they neglected…
Being good to others.
Think about it. Jesus spoke of justice, but God needs no justice from us, people do. Jesus talked about mercy, but God needs no mercy from us, people do. Paul reminds us in 2 Timothy 2:13a, “if we are faithless, He remains faithful,” so who is really in need of our faithfulness? Other people.
As you rejoice in all God has done for you, may you remember this crucial thing: our vertical relationship with God is far more for our benefit than it is for His, and the greatest way to show our love to Him is to share His love with others.