When Worship is a Waste of Time
"...they teach man-made ideas as commands from God" (Mark 7:7, NLT).
Religious organizations like to establish traditions. The followers of a certain way like to define themselves by their unique customs and practices. "We engage in this rite, we choose our leaders "this way," we don't allow "those" kinds of people to be selected, elected, or appointed to blah, blah, blah."
And though there may have been a reasonable rationale the first time someone did it "back in the day," at some point religious people should be careful that they don't elevate their traditions, perspectives or opinions to the level of "commands from God."
In Mark 7 some Pharisees came to see Jesus, but when they got to Him all they could see is that His disciples didn't behave the way Pharisees thought disciples should have behaved. And their judgment was not based on God's commands; rather, on their own traditions.
What a shame to miss what Jesus is up to because you are blinded by your own traditions! Some people cannot get past a preacher starting right in on his sermon if after reading the Scripture he doesn't pray. But I must tell you that in all the years I heard the late C.D. Brooks preach, I never heard him stop to pray before he started to deliver the message. I know he prayed in preparation! But if you hold your traditional value that preachers must pray publicly before preaching up too high, you just might miss what Jesus is saying or doing.
Jesus rarely engages in name-calling. But we see in Mark 7 that for Jesus, religious people who elevate their own clannish values above the will of God as revealed in His Word, He does not bite His tongue. He called them "hypocrites." ("Actors" in the Greek.)
He goes beyond name calling to say that their worship is a waste of time. It's nothing more than a broadway play or a Hollywood movie. It's not real. It's a farce.
We need more humility among the professed people of God. Don't be so quick to discount someone or something just because it does not fit neatly into your picture of God. God is big, my friends! God's easy chair is so large that we are only told the size of the matching ottoman. Matthew 5:35 says the earth is God's footstool.
Let us not substitute our traditions for God's law (Mark 7:8). Stay blessed!