Saturday, June 5, 2010

"And in his teaching he said, "Beware of the scribes, who like to go about in long robes, and to have salutations in the market places 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." And he sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the multitude putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came, and put in two copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him, and said to them, "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For they all contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, her whole living.""

- Mark 12: 38-44

1 comment:

  1. The scribes were called scribes because they were tasked with passing on the written and oral law in an exact manner by copying the texts , especially the Torah in a very exact manner, and were focused upon making commentaries on the law, in particular adapting the law to every day practice in the form or rules and regulations. There is no doubt that they were indeed well learned people who were tasked with a very important duty. The problem is that a selection of the scribes, having too long focused on transcribing the letter of the law (for example, one miss-stroke in coping the Torah rendered the entire scroll unusable) did not transcribe the Law into their own hearts – they understood the strokes of the letters but not the spirit which gave it life. Their view of their position became twisted so they came to view their position as one worthy of prestige. They no longer served the people but felt entitled to be serviced by the people for their duties and teachings. The scribes have been given much, but they expected more and to be lauded by the people for what they did out of their abundance of wealth, of knowledge, of technical expertise.

    Do we find ourselves a scribe – too focused on our expertise at making strokes and interpreting them that we forget to understand that that which we have been given to do is not for making us look great in the eyes of men but rather for serving our fellow man? We should strive after the heart of the widow, who lives on the abundance of the God and yet returns all that she has been given to the treasury, from which others would be supported and works of charity done. Our ability to make strokes exists for the sake of others, not for ourselves. We are called to love one and other, by giving ourselves in service to them.