Competing for What?

Having Ears to Hear the Difficult Word

November 16

Read: MATTHEW 23:1-12

In Mark 9, Jesus asks the disciples what they were arguing about on the road. Embarrassed, they keep quiet because they had argued about who would become the greatest. They knew such debates were immature and not in line with the kingdom values Jesus taught them. But human nature has a nagging way of drawing us into competition out of a desire for status and recognition.

On the way in to a middle school sporting event, I overheard a parent reminding their child about the importance of sportsmanship and a good attitude. But even before half-time, I spotted the same parent out of their seat, upset with the referee and coach’s decisions. It was clear from the pregame speech that this parent knew the right answers about what was of long-term importance in the game, but human nature pulled them into the desire to get ahead.

In today’s Scripture, Jesus makes a similar point: the Pharisees know a lot, but they don’t live it out because of their desire to be important.

Jesus, stir our affections for the kingdom and dampen our desire for status. AMEN.

About the Author

Nathan Salinas || I serve as co-lead pastor of Sunset Covenant Church in Portland, Oregon, where I do a bit of everything. I am married to Erin, who works as a gynecologic oncologist, and we have a three-year-old daughter, Miah, and at the time of this writing we are expecting a baby boy in September. I completed a year of seminary at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary before completing my master of divinity degree at North Park Theological Seminary. I am interested in how our theology informs our everyday living and our understanding of how the world should function. Outside of church, I serve as an adviser to the Multnomah County Sheriff, advocating for the increase of community release programs, substance recovery programs while incarcerated, and reentry services. I like to go biking, boat on the Willamette River, visit the park with my daughter, and eat out in the vibrant Portland food scene.

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