Jesus had some harsh things to say about the religious leaders of His day. They focused on the details of their religion and missed God’s big picture. They even tithed their household spices! (Mt. 23:23). There was nothing particularly wrong with giving attention to these small matters. The problem was that they ignored the bigger issues that matter to God—justice, mercy, and faith.
Jesus called these leaders “blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel” (v.24). They weren’t able to tell the difference between a gnat issue and a camel issue.
In his book Hey, Wait a Minute! John Madden recalls legendary football coach Vince Lombardi’s explanation of the difference between a good coach and a poor one. Lombardi said, “The best coaches know what the end result looks like. . . . The bad coaches don’t know what they want. The good coaches do.” Or, to say it another way, good coaches know what’s important in order to win, and they pursue those priorities. They have the big picture in mind.
Success in the Christian life is much the same. We must be aware of God’s “camel issues”—justice and mercy and faith. Then we must put them into practice, asking each day for the Holy Spirit’s help. Let’s not waste our lives on gnats.
True religion is to know
The love that Christ imparts;
True religion is to show
This love to burdened hearts. —DJD