so practice and observe whatever they tell you—but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice.
Jesus describes the scribes and Pharisees of preaching without practicing. In the religious leadership world, this is the gravest of offenses.
What I think is critical in this passage is Jesus never asks less of the people because the leadership fell short. He still called them to obey the law. However, he calls out the religious leadership for burdening the people with the entirety of the law but only selectively practicing it themselves.
A few thoughts…
-Regardless of a leaders behavior, the scripture still stands. We should never excuse ourselves from obedience because a religious leaders acts hypocritically. (Let Jesus and the scripture be our example)
-Leaders are human. The scribes and Pharisees get a bad reputation. However all spiritual leaders have similarities to them. All spiritual leaders are called to both teach and model truth. Sometimes in the attempt to do both, leaders fall short. (Recognize when my behavior is like the scribes and Pharisees and repent)
-Practice what I preach. The challenge is not to limit what I teach to what I actually practice. I must teach the whole counsel of God’s word. Therefore in my own life I must look in the mirror each time I preach, see if I am in alignment and obedience to God’s word. I must preach the message to myself first and respond to the actions steps before anyone else. This is when the ministry is its most healthy. I can teach what I know, but I will reproduce who I am. Therefore my ministry will be capped long term at my level of obedience. (Practice what I preach)
Father thank you for your patience with me. May I do what I preach. May I teach and model your word.