Summary: A call for the Church universal (individuals and institutions)to be united together "on the Lord’s side"
There once were a baker and a farmer who entered into a business agreement. The baker would purchase the farmer’s butter while the farmer purchased the baker’s bread. The agreement seemed like a match made in heaven. Day in and day out butter and bread would exchange hands. But all was not as it seemed. The baker began to suspect that the farmer was not being honest in his measurement of the butter. He believed that the farmer was short weighing the baker’s portion. So for an entire week the baker carefully weighed the butter, and sure enough, his suspicions were confirmed – each day the butter was exactly the same weight… and each day the butter was exactly 14 ounces - 2 ounces short of a pound. Two ounces didn’t sound like much, but over time the baker had been shorted pounds of butter! Irate, that he was being swindled by the farmer, the baker took his proof to the judge and had the farmer arrested.
A hearing was scheduled without delay. The judge reviewed the evidence presented by the baker, and turning to the farmer he said, “I assume you use the standard weights when measuring out your goods?”
To which the farmer replied, “Well, sir, as a matter of fact, I don’t.”
Intrigued the judge said, “Well then, exactly how do you do your measuring?”
“You see, your Honor,” said the farmer, “the baker and I had an agreement. I would buy a pound of bread from him and he would in return buy a pound of butter from me. So, having no reason not to trust him, I would place his pound of bread on the scale and measure the butter accordingly.”
The judge had quite a conundrum, didn’t he? The baker was cheating the farmer all along, but when the farmer gave the baker an equal portion to what he received, the baker was upset. So, who was really in the wrong? Well, they both were! The baker and the farmer both short weighed their goods and we all know that two wrongs don’t make a right! Moreover, the baker knowingly cheated the farmer and tried to keep it a secret until the farmer began to do the same thing in return. Then he got angry. It’s a classic case of do what I say, not what I do! A classic case of actions not mirroring the words spoken. Classic example of the way many Christians live their lives.
Classic case of hypocrisy and the notion that I can ignore my sins, but I’m going to point out your transgressions! Hypocrisy within the faith is an age-old problem. We faithful people are really good at wanting to be the gatekeepers of heaven. We love scrutinizing the lives of others, weighing their actions against their words, placing stumbling blocks in the path of righteousness all in the name of keeping the faith “pure.” Yet, when the tables are turned and someone looks at us, criticizing our living, calling out our inconsistencies, questioning our actions, suddenly they are being judgmental and withholding God’s grace.
John came running up to Jesus, “Teacher! Teacher!”” he tattled, “We just saw a man driving out demons in your name. But he wasn’t one of “us” so we told him to stop! Didn’t we do a great job? Aren’t you proud of us for keeping the faith pure? Come on, Jesus, pat us on the back and tell us how well we have done!”