by Kenneth C. Kroohs

Twenty-third Sunday After Pentecost
Kenneth C. Kroohs
Micah 3:5-12; Psalm 43; I Thessalonians 2:9-13 & 17-20; Mat. 23:1-12
October 31, 1999

For the last few weeks we have heard Jesus tearing into the religious leaders. Calm, loving, considerate Jesus has been very direct in His statements and His criticisms. When we remember that Matthew says all this happened during Holy Week, then Jesus' attitude and directness makes sense. Jesus knows that He is about to be put on trial and crucified. Furthermore He knows that this is one of His last opportunities to teach the crowds. So Jesus teaches the lessons He thinks are most important. And obviously He believes that the teachings and actions of the religious leaders are extremely important.

So this week you can all relax, only I have to worry about following Jesus' teachings! ... NOT! ... If you are breathing -- you are a leader. Every human being is a leader. .... Some people try to ignore or dispute that description of them self, but the fact is that any person who influences another person is a leader -- and we all influence other people. Some influence other people in big ways .. some in small ways. But we all do it.

There is a member of our churches who does not get to leave her home very much ... but when you see her I can almost guarantee she will be smiling. She brightens the day of anyone who sees her. She influences people. She is a leader.

We are all leaders. And if we claim to be a Christian, then we are a religious leader ... more specifically, a Christian leader. ..... NOW --- let's think again what Jesus had to say ... not about "those" people but about "us".

I honestly and sincerely do not believe that Jesus' primary criticism applies to people in this church. We should celebrate the fact that people trying to take power over each other just does not happen here. We should celebrate the fact that people at this church do not fight to get the ...

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