Clean Hands And A Pure Heart
The theme of our Kakamega Truth Encounter Leadership Conference in Kenya was Biblical Servant Leadership and in our first sessions I had them tell me the names of some of the powerful Kenyan leaders and asked them what they did for a living. Like the U.S. some were career government officials, some businessmen, and some were soldiers. In the secular world we find our leaders in government, the military, or in business, but where does God tell us to look when it comes to leadership in His Church? (Read Matthew 20:24-28 and 1 Timothy 3:4-5)
After a morning and half the afternoon of teaching, discussing, and praying about this question and the answer from God’s Word, it was time to sit down and eat together. Chicken, rice, ugali (corn staple that you roll up in your right hand, dip into broth and then pop into your mouth, and chapati (Kenyan bread). Fingers are the main eating utensils here, so before I could sit down to join the pastors, one of the ladies greeted me with a pitcher filled with hot water, a basin, and soap. She poured the water over my hands, I used the soap, and then she thoroughly rinsed my hands. Now I was prepared to sit down at the table and eat.
In Luke 11:37- 41 Jesus enters a Pharisee’s house and sits down at the table. The host is horrified. What did Jesus do that moved his host to criticize Him?
“Now in the time that Jesus was speaking a Pharisee was asking Him to come and eat with him. Jesus entered and reclined. When the Pharisee saw this, he was astonished that Jesus didn’t first wash before the meal.
The Lord said to him, ‘Now you Pharisees—the outside of the cup and dish you clean. But your inside is full of greed and maliciousness. Fools, did not the one who made the outside also make the inside? Nevertheless give alms to deal with your internal life, and indeed all things will be clean.’”
Jesus wasn’t against good hygienic hand washing, but He was against getting all uptight because someone didn’t wash their hands, and remaining blind to the fact that your insides are being eaten up with greed. We beat this greed not with religious purification rules, but with actual generous giving to those in need. Generosity cleans up covetousness.
At breakfast yesterday Sammy told me that his church in Kakamega is taking care of eleven widows—food, shelter, clothing. There are government programs but the money rarely comes through. It’s the Church who must act like family and give so that these widows are not destitute.
Lord, keep me from focusing on externals and getting angry with those who don’t follow my cultural and religious rules. Help Mary and me to not only give our money but to give hospitality and time with the widows in our lives who mean so much to us and to You.
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