“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were putt and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling His disciples to Him, Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on’” (Mark 12:41-44).
Can you picture re the scene described above? Most Nicolaitan faith communities would esteem someone who popped substantial funds in to t he collection plate. But o r Lord commends the motive of the heart (see 2 Corinthians 9:7).
We realize t hat t he word “orthodox” is weigh ted wit h powerful emotions in many areas of Christendom. The word itself refers to sound religious doctrine. There’s nothing wrong with a desire to up h old truth.
But sadly, orthodoxy has devolved in to a mentality t hat is only concerned with being right. For these people, right behavior is valued regardless of the condition of t he hear t. As a result orthodoxy focuses inordinately o n right rules, right creed, right behavior.
A certain degree of orthodoxy is necessary in order to apply Scriptural commands and principles to you r life. But, as wit h many of t he Pharisees, people get caught up with knowing about t heir religion, and judge others based on preconceived standards of “correct behavior”.
To truly follow Jesus, we need to focus on the biblical importance of “orthopraxy.” Orthopraxy maybe defined as the way our love for Jesus is expressed in the enactment of our lives.
Orthopraxy causes us to regard life and people m ore and m ore from the perspective of The Fathers loving kindness and moves us to act in accordance with His love.
Keep in mind that the Hebrew language emphasizes the verb or action, while English emphasizes the noun or subject. Because of t his difference, English lends itself more to the “w hat” of orthodox y than to “why” of orthopraxy.
Co m pare Two Hebrew Farmers
The Torah testifies to His heart’s concern for t he poor an d for t he strangers who own n o property. That loving kindness prompted Him to present precise instructions for those w ho were blessed with crops:
When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gat the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the YHVH your God (Leviticus 23:22).
Suppose you were living in 200 BC and you met a Torah Observant farmer who viewed his life from an orthodoxy perspective. You notice his harvested fields and see that he didn’t go back a second time to glean them. You ask him why he didn’t, and he replies, “Because Go d commands me not to.”
Then you go a little further down the road and meet an orthopractic farmer who hasn’t gleaned his fields either. In answer to your question he gladly responds, “My Father loves the poor and the unfortunate. Out of love for Him and for them I don’t go back over my fields.”
Can you see the difference? Same behavior yet an entirely different motive. And motive is everything with our Father, because it answers the “why” of an action according to His hear t.
Two examples from James clarify t his distinction:
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world (1:27).
Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if i t is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do (2:15-18).
Is James emphasizing orthodoxy or orthopraxy?
If you’ve grown in the character of The Messiah, you’re motivated to love and care for others as He would. For the very reasons He did what He did!
“And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do what pleases Him.” John 8:29
Why would one ‘want to’ observe Torah?
Because said He so? That’s orthodoxy. Living according to His Word from the outside in? (Can you say religion? Denominationalism? Dogma? Man-made Doctrine?
Or because you Love The Messiah? ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments. (Instructions). John 14:15.
Need more Orthopractic Motivation?
“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15 8-11
Inspiration and 99% of this article goes to Mike & Sue Dowgiewicz, send him an e mail of encouragement, a 3 tour of duty Viet Nam Vet and battle tested Soldier in The Creator’s Army along with his wife sue. Mikedowg@aol.com