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And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ’Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)— then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
Mark 7:9–13 ESV Read More
So let’s say that Bob Seymore donates $80,000 to OneLife. But let’s say that he donates it so that it’s earmarked to buy a 2017 Tesla Model X that is then given to a guy on the OneLife staff to drive around as his personal vehicle. There is a vote, and Bob chooses Bob. Then let’s say there are a few of the 7,000 Seymore kids out on a curb in the rain that need a ride home. Bob pulls up and says “I’m sorry kids, this is a church vehicle, no riders,” and then rockets away, 2 blocks gone before the water from the puddles even lands on their faces.
That would be pretty bad— even ludicrous. That is the level that Corban had attained among the Pharisees in Jesus’ day. A man could dedicate his money and possessions to the temple, but then continue to use it and live off of those same possessions. If his parents needed to be supported, it was perfectly acceptable for him to deny having enough money to help them because all that he had belonged to the temple. He still kept his lifestyle of ease while his parents would suffer.
Whenever there is something so crazy wrong like this, it is good to ask God what kind of crazy thing we ourselves do that miss the point like this. I wouldn’t let my parents starve while I enjoyed green beans at a potluck, but I have the same potential for legalism that those guys had. We have the same ability to do something that seems so spiritual and completely ignore the reality in front of us.
The context of all of this is God’s commandments vs. Man’s traditions. That is where the rubber meets the road on this. When we hold onto a tradition, we are holding on to our will for an activity or an expectation. We are holding things to the way we want them rather than the way that God might be guiding them. If we have messed up an offering so bad that we are leaving kids in the street with it, we’re doing it wrong.
The time of year most packed with traditions is coming. The Lord loves repetition for the sake of instruction and remembrance, so don’t throw out your traditions too fast. Offer them up to the Lord, and let’s be open to what changes He makes. Corban means “dedicated to the Lord.” He loves us too much to be satisfied with just our stuff.