‘What do ye more than others’
The stoutest chapter in the whole Bible can be found in Matthew with all 48 verses stinging like the whip he plaited to drive out the money changers with.
Christ set the record straight when he scolded the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees who would split hairs with him over lesser issues.
The ruling religious leaders could steal from destitute widow women but at the same time put him down for healing a cripple on the Sabbath.
“For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven,” Matthew 5:20
Then, he shifted gears and went after his disciples when in the following passage he set the bar of excellence high for them.
“And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,” Matthew 5:47-48
In this one chapter, all the law and prophets hang because it is more than just having a form of godliness. There must be some real substance shown and seen.
Every time Christ our Lord opens his mouth to speak truth, it takes me six months to climb out from the avalanche of it all.
I lift one clause from this intense passage that defines who we really are who call ourselves the children of God:“What do ye more than others?”
We, like the hypocritical long face Pharisees, can justify why we do and why we don’t do anything we so choose.
But at the end of the day we are left without excuses because God has reserved unto himself others who go beyond the call of duty to please him exceeding with so much less.
For example, I attend a church that is about 20 minutes or so away. Past me in the other direction, on the same road, lives a couple who also attends.
Hugh and Pam Jolly are faithful and regular attendees and along with 200 others, pass through those glass entrance doors out at Dexter most Sundays.
However, there is one glaring difference to be considered.
Pam suffered a life-altering, disabling stroke 10 years ago.
Thus, she has for many years dressed herself with great difficulty and with the aid of her faithful husband, climbed into her wheelchair to be transported by their old van, which has been equipped for that purpose.
One half of her body has no motor skills as the other so that means Pam must put forth twice as much effort as the rest of us do just to get dressed. She drags herself, literally with the help of Hugh, up into that wheelchair and on into the van.
It is a herculean effort on both their parts just to fulfill the command to assemble ourselves together for corporate worship.
On top of this, Bro. Hugh has two bum knees that are almost locked up on him, wore out from many long hard years of labor.
It is a painful step when he takes one, and he is living with the sharp intense stabs of bone rubbing together.
Yet, when I arrive next Sunday morning, there he will be, up in the sound booth orchestrating sound and recording, and out in front of him, sitting in her wheelchair, will be Pam.
Yet I never hear him or her complain about anything.
Not the pain and discomfort it took for him to be sitting up in that sound booth or her in the wheelchair.
Not the old van that is on its last leg and chugs along now on faith in God only.
Not the humble mobile home they live in or anything of lesser value they embrace and live with.
On the contrary, their spirit is always upbeat and positive.
I know for a fact they are have taken in others less fortunate than they to house and feed and transport to church, sometimes to their dismay in the process.
Pam is a fantastic cook, and her fresh apple cake is addictive.
Hugh is an accomplished electrician and appliance tech and a fixer-upper of anything.
What is my problem and what is wrong with this picture?
I hope when we all stand before God at judgment, I don’t have to stand beside Pam and Hugh Jolly.
What do ye more than others, Bro. Mike?
To whom much is given much is required.
God bless you and God bless America.
Mike Dykes is a pastor and story teller. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.