Tag Archives: Matthew 23:1-12

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Do as I say,
not as I do.
Follow my sense,
not my stupidity.

May I not be a piler of burdens,
making your lot worse;
but a lifter,
a sharer
of the load you have to carry.

When I long to show off,
to make sure everyone sees me
and knows my achievements,
may I show only God –
all you are.

As I feel
that I deserve special treatment,
a little honour
and some appreciation of my worth,
may I treat others in the way
I would like to be treated,
and not worry about me.

You Lord
are my guide,
my teacher,
my leader.
May I follow only your ways.

Not my ways,
not the ways that sound impressive,
but lead only to the putting down of others.

may I do
as you say
and as you show.

Matthew 23:1-12 (CEV)

Jesus Condemns the Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law of Moses

23 Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:

The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law are experts in the Law of Moses. So obey everything they teach you, but don’t do as they do. After all, they say one thing and do something else.

They pile heavy burdens on people’s shoulders and won’t lift a finger to help. Everything they do is just to show off in front of others. They even make a big show of wearing Scripture verses on their foreheads and arms, and they wear big tassels[a] for everyone to see. They love the best seats at banquets and the front seats in the meeting places. And when they are in the market, they like to have people greet them as their teachers.

But none of you should be called a teacher. You have only one teacher, and all of you are like brothers and sisters. Don’t call anyone on earth your father. All of you have the same Father in heaven. 10 None of you should be called the leader. The Messiah is your only leader.11 Whoever is the greatest should be the servant of the others. 12 If you put yourself above others, you will be put down. But if you humble yourself, you will be honored.

Practice What you Preach

Do as I say, not as I do

is something I have been heard to say to my sons.  In other words, it’s not always how I act that is right, but the things I say when I’ve got my sensible head on.  What I truly believe is what should be heeded, not some of the stupid things I do.

This is very much Jesus concern with the Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law.  For what they taught did not tie up with how they behaved.  What they said was right, for they quoted God’s Law, but they didn’t live it out in their own lives.

They placed heavy burdens on people, and did nothing to help them carry them;

everywhere they went, they wanted to be seen, and treated as important;

they wanted to be honoured and treated with respect;

but none of this fitted in with the laws that they taught – the laws of a God who all he asked of people was to love.

And so Jesus warns the crowd, not to do as the Pharisees and Teachers do.  Instead they are to do as Jesus does – to be humble and a servant of others.  For in that is true greatness found – not in momentary worldly praise and prestige.

Jesus way was not to see what he could take – but to give.  That was not just the way he taught, but the way he lived.

Do we practice what we preach?  Or is it do as I say, but not as I do?

Do we live as servants, or as those who want to be served?


may my actions

match my words,

may my words

match my beliefs;

may my beliefs

match your teaching

and your way of living.

May I live to serve

both you

and those whose lives I touch