He also said in his teaching, “Beware of the scribes, who want to go around in long robes and who want greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and say long prayers just for show. These will receive harsher judgment.” (Mark 12:38-40)
The scribes were the teachers of Israel. Their job was to create copies of the Scriptures and teach them to the people. But many became prideful people, greedy for money and seeking worldly honor. Jesus teaches us to “beware,” so what does this mean?
As you grow in your faith, you need to have a discerning heart. There are many good and noble teachers whose motives are true, but there are also teachers whose motives are false. They use religion as a means of self-advancement and prey on God’s people for hidden purposes. Some of these teachers are clever and sly. You may sense something is wrong but not be able to put your finger on it. But other times, their motives are obvious. Does the television preacher live in a mansion? Is the pastor getting rich on his or her latest book? Does someone prance about on stage, overjoyed at the attention they are getting? Modern Christianity has become a marketplace, and there is big money to make, but remember, we serve a Master who overturned the tables in the temple. Jesus does not like his Father’s house being used for personal gain. He asks us simply to beware.
Lord, thank you for your warning. Give us all a spirit of discernment. Cleanse your church of those who use it for personal gain. Raise up a new generation of leaders who will serve your people with true and humble hearts.