Pharisees and the Fifth Commandment
September 17 –Pharisees and the Fifth Commandment
Read Mark 7:6-13
The commandment to “honor your father and mother” is not just a commandment for small children to follow. As an adult, one is still expected to show his parents honor. Part of the way one shows honor to their parents is by providing personally and financially for their elderly parents. To avoid having to provide for one’s parents financially, the Pharisees created a practice called Corban. The NIV Life Application Bible explains the practice of Corban in the following way, “Anyone who made a Corban vow was required to dedicate money to God’s temple that otherwise would have gone to support his parents. Corban had become a religiously acceptable way to neglect parents, circumventing the child’s responsibility to them.” On the surface it would seem that one was doing a noble thing by giving money to God’s temple, but Jesus knew the motives behind those gifts were not noble. Jesus taught that one should take care of those who are needy or weak, and this law was providing a way to do just the opposite of His teaching.
Attitude vs. Action
One’s attitude says a lot about one’s heart. Anyone can do the right thing, but not all do the right thing with a good attitude. Externally the Pharisees did a lot of good things, but their inward attitude did not match their actions. In Matthew 15:8 Jesus pointed out the Pharisees hypocrisy when He said, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” Our inward attitude is just as important as our outward behavior. It is not enough to simply do the right thing. In our relationship with others, the way we serve someone should come from a heart of love and not of complaining or annoyance. The demands of life can make it hard to meet the needs of others, but if we really want to follow God’s commands, we will lovingly take the time to provide for those who are in need, including our elderly parents.
What is your attitude like when it comes to serving and providing for your parents? Why is providing for one’s parents important?