"Then He said to them in His teaching, 'Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.' ” (Mark 12:38-40)
The scribes were experts in the law and masters of the language. They preserved and duplicated the scriptures. Because there were no copy machines at the time, each scroll needed to be duplicated by hand. Since they spent their time duplicating the scriptures, they were considered to be experts in the law and held in high regard. Jesus warned the Jews that the hearts of some of the scribes may have not been congruent with their outward appearances.
The scribes described by Jesus, were concerned about outward appearances while inwardly they were wicked. We know that we are justified by faith and not by our works (Gal 2:16). Even so, there are occasions when we can seek to be healed by what we do rather than by who we are. When we serve for the wrong reasons Jesus sees our hearts. He sees all that we do, even when we do it behind closed doors. We are all given a measure of faith by which to be justified. When the disciples asked Jesus to help them with their faith, he said they only needed a little (Luke 17:5). We are each given a measure of faith which is sufficient. Our job is to nurture and develop the faith which has been given. By this faith, the works of our hands may be pure and acceptable.
Lord Jesus, search my heart. Let me serve you with a pure and holy motive. Let me serve you alone and not for the recognition of man. Cleanse the works of my hands and make then acceptable to the Father. In Jesus' name, amen.