Thursday, May 29, 2014

Divine Support Has No Expiration Date

It is beautiful when you run across a passage that you must have read before, maybe many times, but then one day it comes alive.

Debt has an expiration date but support is forever.

"If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you. Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God, that your brother may live beside you. You shall not lend him your money at interest, nor give him your food for profit. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God. If your brother becomes poor beside you and sells himself to you, you shall not make him serve as a slave: he shall be with you as a hired worker and as a sojourner. He shall serve with you until the year of the jubilee. Then he shall go out from you, he and his children with him, and go back to his own clan and return to the possession of his fathers. For they are my servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt; they shall not be sold as slaves. You shall not rule over him ruthlessly but shall fear your God." - Leviticus 25:35-43 ESV

This is how, under the law, Israel was to treat family. Always support each other, never enslave one another and give opportunity if possible but never hold that over someone forever.

If this is what Israel was to do under law then how are we to operate under grace?

I have seen beautiful Christian people care for others at great cost to themselves. They even face criticism for doing it. We all have likely known people who have been taken advantage of by others also. We see a balance in the new testament.

"For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good." - 2 Thessalonians 3:7-13 ESV

We value people. We value them so much that we are willing to be supportive. We value them so much that we encouraging them to have something to give because it is possible for everyone to contribute in a unique way.

"Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all." - Romans 12:13-17 ESV

Grace shows us that God is a giver. He gives with no expectation of a return. His nature washes us and His word is reproductive seed inside of us. He will support us forever. He makes us rich people. Rich in mercy and established in grace.

If people ride on His dime their whole lives what is that to us?

God wants no interest from us. It is not grace if we even think of paying Him back. The cross was our year of jubilee.

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me." - 1 Corinthians 15:10 ESV

We see around us people of tremendous value who do not know their value and we find ourselves laboring.

"Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." - Ephesians 4:28-29 ESV

We were all thieves once... taking what God gave and thinking it was our own. He has given us value. He has redeemed our lives. Do Him a favor... stop paying Him back and live in grace.

So much more will happen happen if we just learn to live in grace.


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