I think this is the clean up after the meal at a Project 24 dedication and the men are heading up the effort. I like to help clean up after meals too because it looks good. That makes me a “shoulder Pharisee”. There are some who think that we should not do mercy work because it is just a ploy to make relatively wealthy folks feel good about themselves and we turn them into shoulder Pharisees. Of course I think that is nonsense but that is what some think. We didn’t do Project 24 dedications to be shoulder Pharisees anymore than congregations are shoulder Pharisees when they dedicate a new fellowship hall. We set aside this place for God’s use and to show donors and partners that we are doing stuff that we said we would do. Those that get upset about doing mercy work may be a little bit like a shoulder Pharisee because they want to keep the money at home and spend it on themselves “to be seen by men”.
May be you are the “wait a bit” Pharisee. This kind of Pharisee always had a good excuse to put off a good deed. “Let us wait a minute. Let us see what happens first.” He agrees in principle with what Pharisees taught, and believed, but his practice always fell a little bit short because he was never quite sure that he would be able to do anything; never quite sure if he wanted to. He had intellectual agreement, but there was very little practice.
The constant handwringing in the church over mercy work is perplexing. What to do and why to do it, can partners handle it?, can we handle it?, do we have an exit strategy?, can there be self sufficiency?, and on and on we go and often nothing happens. When things do happen and the devil attacks and the world laughs then the old nature rises up and gainsays what is going on. “Wait a bit”. “See what happens”. In the meantime the hands and feet of Christ are bound and frozen.
WE have five more types to go – if you aren’t on the list my guess is you will be. You can be more than one type as well?
Remember Jesus was in constant struggle with the Pharisee’s and the scribes, the religious folks –
Martin Franzmann in “Follow Me” CPH 1962 notes on Matthew 23 says,
“The will of Jesus was a will of ministry and mercy; the will of those who rejected
the Messiah was the opposite of that will. Jesus bore men’s burdens for them,
fulfilled all righteousness for them, and thus gave rest to the heavy- laden. Of the
scribes and Pharisees it must be said: “They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and
lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their