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When Our Confidence Is Shaken

It is a strange twist of fate that, on the same date that Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, is in effect accused by the British Supreme Court of breaching the UK constitution in seeking to restrict the British Parliament’s ability to do its duty in scrutinizing the work of the government in relation to ‘Brexit’, Donald Trump, the President of the USA faces the possibility of ‘impeachment,’ for what his accusers feel is similarly breaching US constitutional boundaries on the role of the Presidency. Common to both cases is the falling popularity of the individuals in their respective countries polls and with it the decreasing confidence of the people in their ability to lead. Indeed, in the UK there have been calls in parliament today for the Prime Minister to resign. I sense that both of these individuals felt they had the best of intentions in what they were seeking to do, but that in doing so they stepped over a boundary that became ‘unacceptable’ to those in government around them.

In the gospel passages of Jesus entering the temple and clearing out the money changers and those selling animals for sacrifice, we see a similar story. What started with the best of intentions, because of human fallibility, quickly became unacceptable. What began as a service to those coming to the temple became corrupted. For example, if you have traveled many days to get to Jerusalem to worship and sacrifice in the temple, then it was preferable to purchase your sacrifice at the temple rather than bring an animal with you. However, to be able to buy a sacrificial gift you had to change your ‘Roman’ or other currency to temple coin. The traders and money changers were there with the permission of the high priest and others. Over time the desire for the best ‘pitch’ to sell your wares or to change the currencies were given to those who gave ‘gifts’ or ‘favors’ to the priests. The high priest started to take a cut of the sales. Soon the whole thing was corrupt; it was this that made Jesus angry. What had started with the best of intentions to facilitate worship had become a barrier, a stumbling block to achieving the very thing it set out to do. In life we too, often start with the best of intentions but then somehow we lose our way.

We want to serve God, and yet we fail to do so. We want to worship God, yet find our attention is drawn to the things of this world which then come between God and our lives. In those circumstances we will try and rationalize that we are doing for the good or our, or other people’s lives, that somehow this will achieve a higher purpose when in fact it only serves our purpose. While we may have our confidence shaken by some of our leaders today, what we can have total confidence in is God. God does know what we are doing and our motivation for doing it. Being accountable is part of being a good servant, whether that is for God or the people.

Shalom to you, my friend,
Pastor Andrew

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