Set the Scales
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”- Matthew 5:23-24
One of the things that will bring us closer to God and benefit our lives is learning to place the same weight, value, focus, and care to those things that the Lord views as important. It can be easy to presume or assume what is or is not a big deal in the eyes of the Lord, without giving prayerful consideration, measuring it to God’s Word, or submitting to the counsel of trustworthy believers. When we use our natural thinking and sight to evaluate spiritual things, we often miss the mark or undervalue what is before us. Think about your checkbook. How many times is the balance you have calculated off from the bank statement? Or take your $29.99 scale from Target. How many times have you weighed yourself at home, only to discover the scale at the doctor’s office has you a few pounds heavier? Let me ease your pain and solve the conundrum, the bank statement and medical scale are probably right on.
This imbalance also happens in our faith life. We have turned areas like church attendance, giving, taking a day off (Sabbath), serving, and forgiving others as optional rather than commands, and as accessories rather than the main components to a life designed to walk in a worthy manner (Colossians 1:10) and make the most of every opportunity (Ephesians 5:15-16).
Relationships are another place we can greatly undervalue in God’s economy. As Jesus delivers his first message to the masses in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), He calls the people to listen, turn to God, and move beyond past, human traditions. In this section, He shares that we are to set aside our worship offering when there is an unresolved issue with someone. This is mind-boggling to say the least! We would assume that worshipping God is number one in the pecking order. Seek God first and settle the drama later, is probably how most of us would think about handling things. Yet, Jesus tells us to stop, work out the problem, and then return to the altar in worship, prayer, and faith. Because Jesus is always right, He must know that the closeness and fullness we seek to have with the Father, is compromised when we have issues with our brothers and sisters. There is a connection between how we love God and people, how we bless Him and others. 1 John 4:20 tells us, “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.”
Let’s step up to God’s scale with a humble heart, with the help of the Spirit, and with the truth from His Word. When we take a faith approach to life we will find the right answers and the exact fit to all that God expects and desires.