Yours O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours… Wealth and honor come from You; You are the ruler of all things. And Your hands are strength and power to exalt and to give strength to all… But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from You, and we have given You only what comes from Your hand. ~ 1 Chronicles 29.11-14
David got it – all we have is not ours, but a gift from God. Two key Old Testament words used over and over again, especially in dealing with our stewardship of money is mizpah (justice) & tzadequah (righteousness). OT scholar B Waltke writes, “The righteous are willing to disadvantage themselves to advantage the community; the wicked are willing to disadvantage the community to advantage themselves.”
Therefore, if it is all a gift from Him, what is our responsibility? Deuteronomy 24 tells us that when harvesting the fields which we haverovsionally in our control, we are to leave the corners and the fallen shafts… For the immigrant, the widow, the fatherless, the poor. (v. 14-19) you see part of the harvest wasn’t for the owner, but the poor. There is a recognition of God’s care, our participation and grace, mercy built into production, into profit. A refusal refuses to acknowledge all is a gift from God and part of our gifting for others is thT ability to produce. It’s not a hard jump to today. When we consider children in poverty; the failing schools, the environment that is not conducive to learning, the neighborhoods that are not known for values or morals, much less reaching for goals with delayed gratification, financial planning, or even that the glass ceiling can be broken in something greater obtained… They are doomed to reply their legacies. Some argue it is the parents’ fault; others that a failure of government (we the people) to break broken systemic evil and immoral systems. Both have merit! Yet, we don’t say it’s the kids’ fault.
My sons attend prep school. We teach them values morals and give them the confidence to reach for gGod tells us very clearly in Deuteronomy 1016 through 19oals, we teach them fiscal responsibility and understanding how to plan for the future. They have a completely different outlook on life. Due to their parents, their education and the Headstart we’ve given them, As well as through connections via their parents relationships, they will have the privilege to be successful and get ahead in life.as their parents we do this intentionally and work hard to position our children to be successful in life. We don’t apologize for that. Yet, we do have a compassion, God’s compassion, for the poor and want to advocate and do what we can to help them clean and make progress themselves, and for their children.
God tells Israel, and us, in Deuteronomy 10:16–19 that we are to circumcise our hearts and not be stiffnecked. He tells us to not show partiality not to accept bribes, and to defend the fatherless and the widow and the alien and to give them what they need. Why? It is simple. Because we were needy, independent, and got saved and provided for us.if we cannot grasp this, to live justly, to have hearts that are circumcised it’s very simply means Heartcenter transformed and changed because of God’s compassion on us, then our religion is cheap and shallow and external, and has not changed us, and I would argue saved us. God tells us to the prophet Isaiah chapter 58 that we humble ourselves but we haven’t noticed that while we fast, referring to Yom Kippur, that we still do as we please and export our workers he goes on to ask is this the kind of worship he wants. It is a rhetorical question. The profit goes on to tell us that what he really wants his heart that are transformed, and for us to do justice and care for those less fortunate. We are recipients of grace and must therefore do the same. This same key ethic, more, value and expectation is repeated throughout the Gospels of our Lord’s life. Every time we see the verses on stewardship and grace for what was first given to us we are reminded that he actually really does expect us to show unmerited grace and compassion on others less fortunate than ourselves
This takes us full circle to the beginning above; mizpah (justice) & tzadequah (righteousness). If we do not have compassion, do not reprioritize how and how much we consume, reordering our priorities, to where we give more to what God cares about than we spend on self indugence ( luxuries such as cars, vacations, “get-a-ways” we don’t call vacations, toys, discretionary consumption, and life extras), then I exhort that we are not appreciating our grace received and must wrestle our lack of radical conversion.
So, what is God calling you to change, to surrender, to repent? Where are you grateful? I would challenge that possibly you take up I have it I learned from the Jesuits, the daily examen. I take a moment as I am to each day and I replay my day and take note of the graces, the compassion, the unmerited favor, the mercies, and many kindnesses that I received. I take note of the ways in which I have failed to be my brother’s keeper, and to give the same graces kindnesses and compassionate to others, and I repent. I ask God to help me inhabit him in my world better tomorrow.
In closing, as any common reader of what I right here will not be surprised, I challenge that we have a very un-biblical worldview of God, his word, and literally what it is to be a Christian. I propose that the gospel most Christians were converted to was actually a spiritual prosperity gospel, where God gives order and success, and comfort, and security, and eternal investment for a higher pay out later. This self oriented gospel is not biblical, does not take the radical free grace the calls for absolute surrender, repentance – changing direction, and living as a living sacrifice to be in ambassador, representing the king and his kingdomin this world, so that people can grow in perception of the real God, his love, and be subverted to his kingdom. Our lives here are not about us, our success, our toys, our comfort, our security but… Loving him so completely and so consumed that we become his hands and his feet and his eyes and his mouth and his purse.