That Awkward Moment When You Realize You’re a Pharisee

by Larry Hehn on March 25, 2013

That awkward moment when you realize you're a PhariseeOver the past couple of weeks, I’ve gone through what I can only describe as a spiritual s***-kicking. Excuse my French, but I can’t come up with any term that describes it better than that.

By nature I’m an extreme introvert, and am wired more to deal with tasks than people. I’m a guy who makes to-do lists. Forecasts. Grocery lists. Budgets. I’m a planner and a control freak. I like all my ducks in a row.

I’ve measured my success by how many items on my lists I’ve been able to check off.

Some days, I’m this annoying boss from The Incredibles:

I’ve gotten so caught up in making sure that I do my daily Bible reading, blog reading, blog writing, praying, etc. that it has become all about the list, and not about people.

When someone asks how my spiritual life is going, I instinctively default to my list of activities. How much am I praying, reading, writing?

Not – how is God using me as an instrument of His grace to others?

“Religion” has become more important than relationship.

Crap. I’ve been a Pharisee.

Don’t get me wrong – praying, reading and writing can be good, and healthy. But not when they become a consuming activity, an item on a checklist, something that actually keeps me from sitting at Jesus’ feet.

As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”

But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” – Luke 10:38-42

Imagine that. In my pursuit for Jesus, I’ve rushed right past him, to-do list in hand.

Jesus, forgive me.

Time for me to throw away the to-do list, and sit at Your feet.

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