Luke 11 verses 40-41. “You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But give what is inside the dish to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.”


Notice how easy it is to turn observance of rituals into a substitute for a true spiritual morality. The ritual cleansing of cups and plates from what they considered ceremonial defilement allowed them to feel that somehow they were accomplishing some degree of actual holiness. But the real issues of greed and wickedness in their inner lives were left untouched and unchanged.


The answer to inner sin is not to wash one’s hands when coming back from market. Nor do we exonerate the illegal profits made in the market place by cleansing the inside of the cup. The real answer is to give all the ill-gotten gains to the poor as a sign of true repentance (11 v 41). Otherwise all that is accomplished is that the ritual or outward observances of true religion become a substitute for true godliness in the heart.

The same applies in the matter of garden herbs (11 v 42). Tithing was a minor matter in comparison with the need to act with justice toward fellow men and women. Yet the

Pharisees took tithing to a fanatical degree by tithing even their garden herbs. There is of course nothing wrong with wanting to tithe as much as you can, but if you leave the bigger issues untouched, it is nothing more than hypocrisy.


What about us? Do we act justly to others, especially to those in special need? Read Deuteronomy 14 vs 28-29 and see how God sees tithing and how he links it with the poor and needy.


In other words our various observances of our Christian faith must reflect an inner attitude of true commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ, which is seen in the way we deal with other people.