Attitude Plus Action

When your mother repeated something, you knew that she meant for you to realize it was more than a comment. She was emphasizing a point you were supposed to remember.

I’ve been reading Matthew looking at just Jesus’ words. What did Matthew report that Jesus actually said. I discovered that reading chapters 4-7 regularly will keep us grounded in the teaching.

Yesterday, I noticed a phrase repeated. It was from Hosea 6–“God desires mercy not sacrifice.”

This must be important.

Sacrifice referred to the Jewish religious practice of going to the Temple and offering an animal to be killed in your name for the forgiveness of your sin. Of course, a business developed around the practice when businessmen figured out that pilgrims had a difficult time bringing their own dove or lamb or whatever. So they sold them in the courtyard of the Temple–convenience at a price. We know that drill today.

That practice is just one of many that grew up more focused on the ritual or the practice (we call it “works”) than on having a right attitude toward God.

So then I thought about the word mercy. When I considered all the teachings of Jesus I had just immersed in, I realized it was about attitude. It concerned the condition of my heart. It was existing in a state of loving God and loving my neighbor.

Sacrifice = ritual + law

Mercy = attitude + action

I realized once again how concerned Jesus was about the status of our hearts. And that contemplation and study are merely the foundation for getting up and serving and teaching.

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One Response to “Attitude Plus Action”

  1. josephruizjr Says:

    Jon Swanson talks about obedience today and he quotes Bob Goff Love Does doing Gods way has to flow from the heart great reminder Gary

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