bits from bob....

It is Corban!

by Robert J. Young
©, 2002, Robert J. Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

(Note: Thanks to Bill Keele for the germ thought and direction of this article.)

To one family, it is a godly responsibility and opportunity to express love and care. To another family, it is a burden to be avoided. Jesus' day was no different than our own....the world is full of manipulators, buck-passers, dodgers of responsibility, self-righteous self-justifiers.

Read Mark 7:1-23 (a parallel text is in Matthew 15:1-20). If I can get someone else to pay for the care of my elderly parents, I will have more money for myself! But how? If only....Corban!--a gift devoted to God. I will dedicate (probably by loan with interest) my money to the "higher good" of a godly cause. If I give my money to God (temporarily), I will not be able to help my parents. How tricky! How sly! The legalistic, Pharisaical Jews of Jesus' day had found a way to avoid helping their parents, to retain more for self, and to honor God at the same time (so they reasoned). Unfortunately, God was dishonored.

To one person, it is a godly responsibility and opportunity to express love and care. To another, it is a burden to be avoided. The world is still full of manipulators, buck-passers, responsibility dodgers, self-righteousness.

If I can get someone else to reach my neighbor for Christ, to express Christ's love, I can avoid the possible confrontation, shame, rejection! But how? If only....Corban!--a gift devoted to God. I don't have time or money to love my neighbor, because I'm too busy doing the Lord's work and giving to missions in other places...our missionaries, money for television and prison work, time just reading my Bible for myself, money spent sending myself to fun places where I can relax and spent a little time with God. Let the preachers care for my neighbors and friends! That's way I pay them for. Legalistic, Pharisaical Christians in our day have found a way to escape the responsibility, have more time and money for self and family, and honor God at the same time (so some reason). Unfortunately, God is dishonored.

One day the Lord will come and ask, "Did you evangelize your corner of the world?" I will say, "No, Lord, for what I would have needed to spend in time and money to reach my neighbor with the gospel is "Corban"--it was dedicated to the greater good of foreign missions, hiring others for television and prison work, hiring others to evangelize, and for the greater good of my family and myself. It is better to train those in other countries to reach their neighbors than to train me to reach mine. It is better to campaign and knock doors in another community than in mine. I have made great commitments to my family (you did tell me to care for my own, didn't you, Lord?), so I have given time and money to schooling, sports, recreation, travel, and mission work. That's why I wasn't able to share the gospel with my neighbor.

Ah, yes! We've figured it out. Face is saved. Honor is maintained! This is an evangelistic, mission-minded church. And people--some?--many?--most?--in this community do not even know the location of our church building or have never been invited to worship with us, to study, to know Jesus.

My brothers and sisters! These things ought not so to be!--Jesus condemns us by his own words. If not, why not? Who will invite a neighbor to go to heaven? Will you? When?

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Last updated January 7, 2002.