Giving and getting

The Lord is a “show me” kind of guy. He calls us to listen to His word, but He also calls us to live our lives by that word. Don’t just say it, do it. Christianity is not a spectator sport, and there are no bench-warmers. If you are on the team you are going to be on the field.

I don’t often quote Bible verses at great length. However, last Saturday’s daily reading laid out God’s task for us better than I can say it. Isaiah 59:9-14 is where God gives us both our marching orders, and His promise to us.

“Then you shall call and the Lord will answer, you shall cry for help and He will say,”Here I am!” If you remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech; if you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; then light shall rise for you in the darkness and the gloom shall become for you like midday. Then the Lord will guide you always and give you plenty, even in the parched land. He will renew your strength, and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails. The ancient ruins shall be rebuilt for your sake, and the foundations from ages past you shall raise up. “Repairer of the breach,” they shall call you, “Restorer of the ruined homesteads.”

If you hold back your foot on the sabbath from following your own pursuits on my holy day; if you call the sabbath a delight, and the Lord’s day honorable; if you honor it by not following your ways, seeking your own interests or speaking with malice, then you shall delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; I will nourish you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the lord has spoken.”

And, in case you’re inclined to say, “yes, but that’s Old Testament stuff, Jesus set us free from those sorts of rules,” today’s familiar Gospel verse should help. In Matthew 26, Jesus makes the point again. “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”

Lately, I have experienced a lot of what I call “sidewalk miracles.” Archangel Gabriel didn’t show up in a blaze of light to slay my foes, but a friend called at the moment I needed a friend. A knotty situation at work resolved itself due to no effort on my part. Simple solutions to some of my problems have just appeared, usually at the hands or in the words of another person. You can call it coincidence, if you like. Or you could say that God means what He says, and does what He told us He would do.

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