“Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.” Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” And while some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” Luke 20:46-21:6
I have blogged previously about this section of Luke, but I feel the need to revisit it’s ramifications, especially in light of the “Restoring Honor” rally held in Washington, D.C. this past weekend.
In the weeks leading up to this rally, Glenn Beck (Fox News commentator and talk radio host) has been asking for donations to help offset the cost of putting on the rally. Any funds raised over and above the need for the rally would be diverted to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (quite a worthy cause). During this fund raising drive, someone sent Beck 8¢. Eight pennies in a plastic baggy. It was all this person could afford to send in. They were desperate to contribute to this rally.
As I listened to Beck this morning (I prefer hearing it straight from the horses mouth, rather than edited news stories), he relayed a story about how the 8¢ sent in inspired thousands more to give and helped cover an unforeseen expense that had arisen. It was a miracle, according to Beck.
I have felt very uneasy about Beck’s calls to “return to God.” Beck is a mormon. As much as the Latter-Day Saints would like to claim it, they are not Christians. They do not serve the God of the Bible. So to what god are we to return? From what I’ve heard from Beck, it seems to be whatever god we desire (as long as they are from the Judeo-Christian heritage). Rabbis, priests and pastors were all present at Beck’s rally. Beck’s call to return to god is a generic call. And the sad thing is, the very Enemy he claims to be fighting against, is just fine with the generic god-talk.
Does morality really scare Satan? I don’t think so. Why else would he offer all the kingdoms of the world to Jesus if only Jesus would bow to him? What greater coupe could the Enemy complete than to have all the world distracted by their morality, only to face eternal judgment? A call to morality is simply a call to save yourself in the opposite direction. The immoral try to save themselves by breaking the Law. The moral try to save themselves by keeping the Law. Both will fail. Both will be destroyed.
Another reason I think the Enemy is fine with the generic god/morality talk is that those types of people tend to have a more difficult road to salvation. The hooker on the street corner knows she’s of lowly estate. The average pew-sitter with shined shoes and a pressed shirt and a respectable job is less likely to suddenly come to the knowledge of his lowly estate. It’s easier for our average pew-sitter to be self-righteous than the hooker. And it’s easier for the hooker to see her need of grace than our average pew-sitter. I’ve heard it said before that you must get a person lost, before you can get them saved. An acute knowledge of your own sinfulness is necessary before one will call out for Jesus.
To what is Glenn Beck calling the nation? He is calling them to return to morality. To trust in the goodness of people. Glenn Beck is calling people to trust in another savior…themselves. While he would deny it, that is the end of his generic god-talk. While he would deny it, he is devouring widow’s houses. He tempts them to trust in something other than Jesus. The temple of moralism and self-righteousness will fall one day. Not one stone will be left upon another. Yet, the Kingdom of Jesus will continue its expanse until the day He returns to consummate His rule and authority over all the earth.
Our only hope is Jesus Christ. His blood-soaked cross is the only way we can be saved. Our religious works are not enough. Only Jesus.