Psalm 1:3 They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.
Whom do you know or recall who has stood the test of time, outlasted the latest fad, prospered when others were dashed by the waves?
The people I recall have had a deep faith. Like a tree that has sent its roots deep within the soil, finding moisture that lasts when the surface has dried, people of deep faith can ignore fads and controversies and focus on what really maters.
What have you done this week to deepen your faith?
Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.
One of the strengths of the Presbyterian Church is that we appreciate having a diversity of opinions when must make a difficult decision. We often invite people outside our membership to give their opinions. Since people with other points of view can more easily see holes in our arguments.
Even after making a decision Presbyterians may continue to disagree with one another and occasionally disagree forcefully. Yet if we can speak the truth in love, disagreeing without attacking, we will grow and build a stronger community.
Leviticus 26:27-42 … if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, 42 then will I remember my covenant with Jacob; I will remember also my covenant with Isaac and also my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.
Today’s lesson from Leviticus provides a spiritual interpretation of recent and past ecological disasters that have resulted from ignoring our duties as stewards of God’s creation. Each day we are presented with choices which have ecological implications: incandescent or florescent light bulbs, drive or walk, build where we can watch the river or allow a buffer for rare floods, …
But more important than the ecological consequences of presuming ownership rather than stewardship of creation, is God’s promise of redemption for people and for the land; A miraculous promise to provide a second chance to turn from past errors and be at one with God.
Leviticus 19:9 When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the LORD your God.
When most if not every household farmed, leaving a little extra around the edges of a field provided life saving opportunities for a neighbors who lacked land or for foreigners who left a region with a famine. In our time and culture, our support of food banks and homeless shelters provide essential nourishment and shelter to the needy. But providing opportunities for the unemployed to reap the joy of labor are harder to share.
When I worked as an engineer, I often considered uncompensated overtime as a way of creating opportunities for others to work. For if I did my job well, others would develop my studies and specifications into plans and manufacturing projects. When I see an empty building, I wonder what opportunities for a new business could it support? For someone had created an opportunity for me to work and I would like to share that opportunity with someone who needs a job today.
How do you leave a little around the edges of your labor for others?