Anybody remember Bernard Madoff? Back in 2009, he was sentenced to 150 years in federal prison for investment fraud. He died April 14, 2021. His giant Ponzi scheme paid off handsomely (64.8 billion dollars) for early investors in order to lure more investors, who never got the promised huge returns on their investments. Indeed, some promises are “too good to be true.” Eventually, his financial empire was revealed for what it was all along—a house of cards.
Have you noticed yourself or other people often using words such as “transparency” or “integrity” in conversation lately? We want to know that people are who they say they are, that they are doing what they claim to be doing with our money and that they are doing the work that they claim to be doing. We seek out people of integrity—not someone who is one person on the surface and someone very different inside. We want work histories to be honest and complete; we expect academic records to be accurate.
Jesus addresses the possibility of external religious actions not reflecting a person’s true self, the possibility that people could present God as supporting plans that are, in fact, clearly opposite of what God wants from us.
It was easy in Jesus’ day to think of the scribes in the synagogues and those who make big donations to the temple treasury as the movers and shakers of the Jewish religion and of Jewish society. According to this line of thinking, the poor widows don’t count…