Devotional Thoughts for Today
Lk. 10:29-31 (NASB): “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead.  And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.”
Lev. 21:1 (ESV): “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say to them:
‘No one shall defile himself for a dead person among his people. . . .’”
Many Korean churches list the names of the church members who tithe in their Sunday bulletin. Naturally, most people would check to see, first, whether their name is included in the list, and second, whose name is not there. So, does this practice generate more revenues for the church? Not necessarily, since some people put whatever amount in an envelope and then write, “Tithe.” Apostle Paul would refer to that as “having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Tim. 3:5).
In many ways, the priest and Levite in the parable were no different: they appeared quite godly since they obeyed God’s law that kept the priests from touching the dead lest they became defiled. Especially on this day, the priest and Levite couldn’t afford to do that since, presumably, they were heading to Jerusalem because it was their division’s turn to serve in the temple. Knowing full well of the consequence of touching a dead body—“Whoever touches the dead body of any person shall be unclean seven days” (Num. 19:11)—they weren’t about to jeopardize this long awaited opportunity to shine.
But there was just one problem: the man wasn’t quite dead. Before these two made a wide turn to pass by the other side, they were close enough to hear and see a man writhing in pain. Had they touched him to help, while their fine outfit might’ve been stained by the man’s blood, it wouldn’t have made them unclean. Thus, not helping wasn’t so much that they were concerned about being defiled but that they eschewed being inconvenienced and “look[ing] out for . . . the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4); nothing was going to stop them from getting what they wanted. And like a criminal with a perfect alibi, these two had a perfect excuse: We thought he was dead and didn’t want to be late for the temple work.
Is looking good before people and getting what you want really important to you? When we live like that, we miss out on opportunities to love our neighbors in need. Let’s live our lives with a form of godliness without denying its power. When you see an opportunity love a neighbor today, just do it!
Lord, who isn’t guilty of desiring the praise of men rather than God? I’m guilty of that a thousand times over. How many times have I pretended to be holy before men when I was full of envy and resentment! Forgive my sins and help me to care more about what You think than what men think. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 40
Lunch Break Study
Read Matt. 6:1-4 (NASB): “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.  So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.  But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,  so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
Heb. 6:10 (NIV): “ God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”
Question to Consider
- What drove these people to do good deeds?
- What drives people to act like that? What do they want?
- What should motivate us to do good deeds? What are some areas in your life that are driven by your desire to appear godly while denying its power?
- They really craved for people’s approval; they wanted people to think that they were really righteous, generous and kind. Is it insecurity or having been reared without receiving much love? Or, is it a result of being praised too often?
- Ultimately, it is because they have no relationship with God, by choice. They have little or no relationship with God because they don’t prioritize spending time with God. People who hunger for immediate gratification find God’s response too slow and God’s presence too intangible.
- By faith we do good because it matters to God; we do good because of its inherent goodness; we do good because it helps people; and it is okay to do good, knowing that God will reward us.
Did we face a situation today where we acted and talked holier and more loving than what we really were inside? How can we walk more authentically with others and with the Lord? Among other things, it won’t happen without spending some alone time with Him: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10).