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Rearranging Ashes


The story is told of an eastern ascetic holy man who covered himself with ashes as a sign of humility and regularly sat on a prominent street corner of his city. When tourists asked permission to take his picture, the mystic would rearrange his ashes to give the best image of destitution and humility.


A great deal of religion amounts to nothing more than rearranging religious "ashes" to impress the world with one's supposed humility and devotion. The problem, of course, is that the humility is a sham, and the devotion is to self, not to God. Such religion is nothing more than a game of pretense, a game at which the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus' day were masters. Because their religion was mostly an act, and a mockery of God's true revealed way for His people, Jesus' most blistering denunciations were reserved for them.


(From a sermon by Matthew Kratz, Pursuing God in Giving, 1/31/2010)

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