Daily Worship

Weighty burdens

Norah Summers November 20, 2023 2 3
Image credit: Unsplash
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Matthew 23: 1-12 (GNT)

23 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples. 2 “The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees are the authorized interpreters of Moses' Law. 3 So you must obey and follow everything they tell you to do; do not, however, imitate their actions, because they don't practice what they preach. 4 They tie onto people's backs loads that are heavy and hard to carry, yet they aren't willing even to lift a finger to help them carry those loads. 5 They do everything so that people will see them. Look at the straps with scripture verses on them which they wear on their foreheads and arms, and notice how large they are! Notice also how long are the tassels on their cloaks! 6 They love the best places at feasts and the reserved seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to have people call them ‘Teacher.’ 8 You must not be called ‘Teacher,’ because you are all equal and have only one Teacher. 9 And you must not call anyone here on earth ‘Father,’ because you have only the one Father in heaven. 10 Nor should you be called ‘Leader,’ because your one and only leader is the Messiah. 11 The greatest one among you must be your servant. 12 Whoever makes himself great will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be made great.

Self-importance is a heavy burden!

Jesus was often moved to take people down a peg or two. These leaders and teachers liked to show off their piety and learning – their head-straps with scripture verses were bigger and heavier than anyone else’s; their cloaks had longer tassels than anyone else’s. Look at us, how important we are! We’ll tell you what to do.

So busy being important they had no time for actual concern for others, or comprehension of the struggles other ‘lesser’ people might be dealing with.

Yesterday we saw Jesus call people to account – ‘whoever of you is without sin . . .’  Who are you to judge others?

Motes and beams in the eye were used by Jesus in a very dramatic illustration of our tendency to magnify other people’s faults and ignore our own (see Matthew 7: 1-5).

Self-importance is a heavy burden!

Let it go – lighten up!




Loving God,

when we want to parade our self-righteousness,

show us Jesus,

who humbled himself to become one of us.

When we want to look down on others,

show us Jesus,

who said the last would be first.


When we want to be noticed,

show us Jesus,

who came to a world which did not recognise him.


When we think we are important,

show us the importance of our brothers and sisters,

whoever and wherever they are,

all your children,

made in your image,

all loved and cherished by you.