Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Long Robes

Mark 12:38-40 (ESV)
And in his teaching he said, "Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces
[39] and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, [40] who devour widows' houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation."

I once had a baptist berate me for wearing robes during divine service because of what Jesus said in this verse. Which is rather interesting, Jesus wore a robe. I think if we were to translate the message for today, it would be a suit and tie. But it wasn’t so much the wearing of long robes, but the way in which they did so and for what reasons. The scribes are trying to put themselves above all others. They want to be served, and refuse to serve. It is the opposite of what Christ counsels for pastors.
Yet, pastors fall into the trap. It happens. I won’t get hung up on clothing here, I don’t think that was what Christ was getting at anyway. I mean when they put him up on the cross, the soldiers decided to gamble over his robe, because it was so fine and expensive. That is the flip side of the whole thing. Learning to be served and doing it graciously. That’s not an easy thing. There can be an arrogance that refuses another’s generosity, just as much as there can be an arrogance that demands it.
I find that being a pastor means living off the grace of God in more ways than one. The people often want to share their good things with the pastor. It is only right that the pastor allow them to, with out feeling like he is a charity case, either.
But then I do cringe as I read this passage. Sorry but I often think of “development officers”. I think of so many sermons meant to wring money out of the people and border on the blasphemous in the way they do so. Some pastors think the gospel is “give me money”. There of course need to be stewardship sermons, but they should be a bit limited. Guilt tripping the people isn’t right. I’m always a bit leery of capitol campaigns and pledge drives.
And for a pretense make long prayers. Keep your public prayers, those done outside the church short. That’s what I always thought, though at times I think people expect a little more from me. I never have liked prayers that go on for very long, I find them annoying, and I do think most people feel the same. Ask me to come for an invocation and that is what I will do. “in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen” want something more than that ask me to give some opening remarks.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tell your your Baptist friend that it's only because you're too poor to afford a chaucible. Let him think about that.