Children selling cigarettes. Yep.
When I was in fourth grade, a group of my classmates decided to make fake cigarettes and cigarette boxes out of paper and tape. Then they sold these "cigarette boxes" to other classmates for 25 cents.
When our teacher found out, she was LIVID at them! But not for the reason you'd think.
You see, she wasn't too ruffled over the idea of 8-year olds making and selling fake cigarettes and pretending to smoke. But she was extremely upset that they were using her supply of paper and tape to do it.
Somehow it seemed that her concern was a bit...misplaced. In all her huff about the students using her paper and tape, she missed the most important element of the situation.
The Pharisees too were notorious for getting riled up about the wrong thing and missing the bigger picture. There was a man with a shriveled hand who sought healing from Jesus. The Pharisees wanted to see if Jesus would break the rules by healing this man on the Sabbath--and if He dared to healed the man's hand, they were ready to be all over that like white on rice, shaking their fingers and accusing him of wrongdoing!
Jesus called them out for worrying about the wrong thing. "Which is lawful to do on the Sabbath--" He asked those ready to accuse Him--"to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed by their stubborn hearts, said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." The man stretched out his hand and it was completely restored (Mark 3:1-6). And ooh, were the Pharisees riled up! Enough so to get the ball rolling on a plot to have Jesus killed.
The Pharisees weren't itching to praise God for the healing of this man--they were ready to judge Him for ministering to someone on the Sabbath. And as tireless lovers of the law, they would not stand for such a thing. They couldn't see that a man's hand was restored after years of uselessness. They just saw that it had been done on the Sabbath, and were none too pleased about it.
How are we too focused on the wrong thing? Do we get nit-picky and legalistic over the details, sometimes totally missing the miracles of what God is doing?
* In what ways are we like the Pharisees--loving laws and rules more than the work of God?