23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”
Matthew 23:23 (NIV)
In baseball, I pitched in high school, but when I got to college I played outfield. Since I wasn’t used to playing outfield, I often forgot to throw to the cutoff man. Neglecting to do so allowed a baserunner to advance a base.
Although missing the cutoff is technically not an error, it had the same effect. It was an error of omission, not commission.
Athlete, what you don’t do in sports can have just as much of an effect as an error you commit.
You didn’t eat lunch before your football game. You didn’t wear the right shoes to your cross-country meet. You didn’t find the open person under the basket.
We can see the impact of what we fail to do in life too. That’s what Jesus said in Matthew 23:23. Most of the time we think about sins we commit rather than right things we omit. That’s what the Pharisees did.
The Pharisees followed the book. They were technically sound. But Jesus was harsh on them because their motives were off, and they neglected justice and mercy issues. He called them corrupt for what they did not do.
Yikes! We should look at ourselves in this light.
We might go to church. We might look and act pure. We might lead a Bible study. We might wear the Christ-follower label. We might tithe.
But let’s shift the focus for a minute and ask, “What am I not doing that I should be doing?”
Picture Jesus asking you, “Do you pay attention to the sick, weak, widowed and orphaned? Do you let people borrow from you? Do you treat everyone equally? Do you forgive others? Do you turn the other cheek? Do you give people more than what they ask for? Do you love your enemies?”
In your sport, neglecting to do the right thing is the same as doing something wrong. It is the same in life.
We might not be living wrong, but are we living right?
Action: In the next month 1) give one of your coats away 2) give someone more than what they ask for 3) visit a sick person 4) treat someone who is easy to treat unfairly as you would treat a dignitary.
Do those things because Jesus says to and because that’s what you would want done to you.