Jesus vs Religion part 2 - missing the point

This is the second in a series of post on Jesus vs the Pharisees in Luke 11:37-54 (read part 1 here)

In v42 , Jesus criticises the Pharisees for tithing (giving a tenth of) their herbs and spices, but nelecting justice and the love of God. One of the big problems with religion is that it misses the point and it becomes obsessed with the little things. It sounds ridiculous to us... how can you be unjust and unloving towards people but think that tithing your herbs makes it ok? But, while we might not do it with herbs, we still have a tendancy to do the same thing – you lost your temper and had a massive argument with someone... but you didn't swear or get drunk this week so God doesn't mind!

Why do we think this legalism will please God? Why do we think it’s a good witness to other people? It makes no sense. For example, have you ever heard anybody give these testimonies?
  • "I had a neighbour who was a Christian and he used to go mental when we occasionally parked over his drive, but I never heard him say "oh my god" once so I started thinking... there must be something to this christianity lark." 
  • "She gossips about people behind their back but she never does her washing on a sunday... there must be a God!"
I've never heard those testimonies because the religious attitude that makes a list of things that we can pick and choose from, doesn't show Jesus to people. Maybe we start to think that this list is something that allows us to exchange things we can do for things we don't want to. Or maybe we end up bargaining with God in prayer - "if you do this for me God, then I'll do that". Or "I've done this for years God, so why haven't you done that for me?"

Jesus makes it clear in this verse that it’s not that the little things don't matter, but all our actions are an outflow of the attitude of our heart. We can't seperate out parts of our lives that are surrendered to God and parts that aren't. Religion concentrates on the little things it can do and ignores the rest. Christianity recognises that we need Jesus to transform our hearts, affecting every single aspect of our lives.