“The Pharisee and the Child”
In disciplemaking it is extremely important to reproduce the right DNA.” Like father like son”. When Jesus formed His disciples during His earthly ministry – He used two metaphors to teach them what the DNA of discipleship does not look like and what it does look like.
Surprisingly – when He wanted to show them what they must NOT be like – he did not use sinners, murderers, unbelievers as a metaphor – He used church leaders, deeply religious people, the most respected people of their time as a metaphor – PHARISEES.
· Their Concept of God is that of a bookkeeper whose favour you can only win by religiously obeying outward rituals.
· Mistakes must be limited to the minimum. You constantly measure yourself on a spiritual ruler.
· You are self righteousness – “if only the others can be like me”.
· Very aware of your own spiritual advancement.
· Always defensive. There is always something positive that makes up for who / what you are not.
· Blaming / Condemning / Judging / Intolerant.
· An earnest desire to change others. Very critical.
· See the speck of sawdust in the other’s eye, but not the log in his own eye.
· Play power games in the church – to dominate others and increase their own influence and reputation.
· Their religion enslaves others rather than empowering them.
When Jesus made disciples – He warned them against the church!
And pointed them to the values of CHILDREN.
In Jewish culture children had very little value – no status in society. Jesus literally asked his disciples to regard themselves as unimportant – a small child:
· Who reacts with his whole life on his belovedness and acceptance by his parents. When he makes a mistake he knows it will not affect his parents love for him. They may disapprove of his behaviour, but their love for him is not based on his performance.
· They are trusting, dependent.
· Live unpretentiously, lightly and freely.
· Playful, not over-aware of himself – does not pursue spiritual perfection and don’t over-analise himself.
· Not worried about what others will think of his behavior and if he will receive accolades for his behaviour.
· His most important attribute is his innocence – his inability to inhibit, wear a mask, to pretend to be somebody he is not.
· His eyes do not see labels like black and white, rich and poor, educated and uneducated. The Pharisee spends a lot of time on reacting on these labels.
“Children are our model because they have no claim on heaven. If they are close to God, it is because they are incompetent, not because they are innocent. If they receive anything, it can only be as a gift” (Brennan Manning)
Can I invite you for are time of reflection?:
1. Play the video of your life in the past week: Where do you recognise the Pharisee? Where do you recognise the Child?
2. Are you following Jesus like a Pharisee or a Child?
3. Are you reproducing Pharisees or Children?
4. If you look at the church in the world – Pharisee or Child? In which way is this helping / preventing us to make disciples?
God believes in you!
Kingfisher Mobilising Centre