Verse of the Day Devotion Luke 16:15
“And He said to them, you are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.” – Luke 16:15
Today we will be looking at what Jesus deemed priority as apposed to the Pharisees. It starts by saying the Pharisees were listening to what He was saying. “Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things, and they were scoffing at Him.” Luke 16:14. The Pharisees here were not just listening to what Jesus said but were literally scoffing at it. Jesus was telling them a parable of the dishonest manager. The meaning to be derived from this is told by Jesus at the end. “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. If therefore you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous mammon, who will entrust the true riches to you? And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Luke 16:10-13. The basic thought of this parable is that no servant can serve two masters, for we will serve one or the other. We cannot serve both.
The general idea of it is carried forward in what Jesus said after this parable. The Pharisees were known in that day as ones who wanted the people to think highly of them. Therefore, they would perform acts in such a way as to impress those watching them. We see this in our focus verse. “And He said to them, You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.” Luke 16:15. They did there good deeds to be seen by men. Matthew wrote these words of Jesus in His gospel. “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 6:1. They did their good deeds to be acclaimed by men. In fact, Jesus goes on to say that these things that they do for the purpose of lifting themselves up is actually detestable in the sight of God.
It is important that we examine how we do things. Do we give to God because we love Him or because it looks good when we give it? Do we give a talk simply because we want people to hear us? Do we do things to show how ‘righteous’ we are? At the end of our verse, we are told this is not pleasing to God. “for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.” God wants us to do our good deeds without making a big deal about it. Expanding on Matthew 6:1 we read, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. When therefore you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” Matthew 6:1-4. We should do good because it honors God, not because it honors ourselves.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.