Don't Crash the Car to Kill a Fly

These are supposedly actual statements from insurance forms filed by people who’ve had a traffic accident:

· "I collided with a stationary truck coming the other way."

· "On approach to the traffic lights, the car in front suddenly broke."

· "I didn't think the speed limit applied after midnight"

· "The car in front hit the pedestrian but he got up, so I hit him again."

· "In an attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole."


That last one seems rather drastic, don’t you think? I’ve no objection to killing a fly, but why not just swat it. No need to crash the car!

Granted, that’s not what this person intended, but sometimes in our zeal for the lesser thing (killing a fly) we forget the more important thing (keeping the car on the road). That happens in religion, too.


Jesus directed some of his harshest criticism toward religious leaders who got their priorities scrambled. They were devout, always in church. They tithed and fasted and prayed. But Jesus said of them, “You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are” (Matthew 23:15).


Ouch! How could that be? How could seemingly good people get so off track that they would actually make their converts worse?


They got their priorities confused. “You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cumin,” Jesus reminded them. “But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness” (Matthew 23:23).


Weightier matters still get overlooked. Preachers are sometimes more concerned about “three points and a poem” than about the people in the pews. A church may spend more time and money on the concrete and steel of its building than on the community surrounding it. Christians often focus more on religious services than on service motivated by religion.


Let’s give proper weight to the weightier matters. We don’t want to crash the car to kill a fly.