everyone! I decided I needed to get up
and get at it today. Otherwise, I'll get
busy and it'll be bedtime before I get around to the blog and all I will really
want to do is go to bed
READ: This morning, SOLO takes us to the book of
Deuteronomy, chapter 24: verses 10-15 and 17-22
I've grown to like the idea of typing it out (that way I know if you
read this blog, you've read some Bible today), so I am going to share it with
(10-13) When you
make a loan of any kind to your neighbor, don't enter his house to claim his
pledge. Wait outside. Let the man to whom you made the pledge bring
the pledge to your outside. And if he is
destitute, don't use his cloak as a bedroll; return it to him at nightfall so
that he can sleep in his cloak and bless you.
In the sight of God, your God, that will be viewed as a righteous act.
(14-15) Don't abuse
a laborer who is destitute and needy, whether he is a fellow Israelite or
foreigner living in your land and your city.
Pay him at the end of each workday; he's living from hand to mouth and
needs it now. If you hold back his pay,
he'll protest to God and you'll have sin in your books…
(17-18) Make sure
foreigners and orphans get their just rights.
Don't take the cloak of a widow as security for a loan. Don't ever forget that you were once slaves
in Egypt and God, your God, got you out of there. I command you: Do what I'm telling you.
(18-22) When you
harvest your grain and forget a sheaf back in the field, don't go back and get
it; leave it for the foreigner, the orphan, and the widow so that God, your
God, will bless you in all your work.
When you shake the olives off your trees, don't go back over the
branches and strip them bare--what's left is for the foreigner, the orphan, and
the widow. And when you cut the grapes
in your vineyard, don't take every last grape--leave a few for the foreigner,
the orphan, and the widow. Don't ever
forget that you were once a slave in Egypt.
I command you: Do what I'm
THINK: Here we are asked what 3 common themes link
the scenarios. If I were going to wrap
up this passage in a verse, it would have to be: "Seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly
with your God." More than once in
this passage, God reminded the Israelites not to forget that they had once been
slaves in Egypt and God, Himself, had led them out. They were repeatedly reminded never to forget
what God had delivered them from and that they had done nothing to earn what
they would receive in the Promised Land, so they would be wise not to get
arrogant, thinking that they somehow earned what they had, and therefore were
under no obligation to share it. On the
contrary, God was always commanding them to share what they had and to not be
greedy or stingy.
passage is a bit humbling for me as I think back over the course of my life and
the current situation in America, with scores of people flooding over our
Southern border. I have frequently
extended a hand of friendship to people less fortunate than me and patted
myself on the back for it. I have, at
times, even left such encounters feeling somewhat superior. The truth of the matter is: those encounters have never cost me a
thing. They were meetings of convenience
in that, I never went looking for any of them.
I didn't run away from them. But,
I didn't have to go out hunting for someone with whom to share my friendship or
blessing that day.
the other hand, there have been plenty of times when I've been presented with
the opportunity to help someone less fortunate and I have found every excuse
not to because those times it would've been inconvenient or it would've cost me
something. I know I'm not the only one,
but as you can imagine, people are less apt to talk about those times.
Recently, Stephen King slammed Tea Party
conservatives with a quote:
Much easier to be a Christian when the little children aren't
in your back yard, isn't it?
Though he received plenty of backlash, my heart was pricked
by that comment. The truth is: Yes, it
is much easier when the little children aren't in your backyard. Though I am not strictly talking about this
situation, it does apply here too. I
have been guilt of saying "send them home" whenever I see the stories
on the news about our legal/justice system being so messed up that these mass
crossings could even occur. However, if
all they needed to do was get out of their own country, then they could've just
stopped at Mexico. All over the world,
when people leave their homeland and think about making a better life for
themselves, they do precisely what Simon and Garfunkle said: "They all
come to look for America." As a
nation, we have been blessed by God. The
issue comes down to the fact that far too many individuals have tried to pass
the buck of meeting these needs off onto the government. We have taken an individual mandate and tried
to nationalize it, not just for others, but for ourselves, as well. We have voted for someone who would take care
of us for years. We have been the
Israelites begging God for a king so that we can be obedient. Well, now, we have a king (though he does not
want to be called that) and we do not like the fact that we are now beholding
to a king whose rules we cannot stand, or who seems to have a "Do as I
say, not as I do" policy. We cannot
have it both ways.
I cannot have it both ways.
If I shirk my responsibility to be obedient because it feels
uncomfortable or because it's inconvenient, then I have a faith of convenience,
and that is no faith at all. What I have
done is usurped God's authority in my life by placing myself on my own
throne. I have done precisely what God
commanded the Israelites not to do: I
have forgotten that I was once a slave in Egypt.
PRAY: "Sit with your eyes closed. Think about a recent encounter with someone
who might relate to you like the neighbor, laborer, foreigner, or orphan
described in the passage. Perhaps you
spoke a few words to a homeless beggar, or you listened to someone at school or
work who was upset. When faced with the
person's need, what did you feel? What
thoughts popped into your head? What did
you do? Take a few moments to explore
with God what was going on in your heart during the encounter"
I have to tell you that the reason I went into counseling and
the reason that I love travel and exploring is because of people. My belief is:
Everyone has a story and they want to tell it. But they want to tell it to someone who is
willing to really listen to them and to let them talk until they are done. They don't want to be fixed. They just want to connect. There's a quote from one of my most favorite
movies, Crash, that I feel pretty adequately sums up the state our world is in
the sense of touch. In any real city, you walk, you know? You brush past
people, people bump into you. In L.A., nobody touches you. We're always behind
this metal and glass. I think we miss that touch so much, that we crash into
each other, just so we can feel something."
Could it be that, in this digital world, in all our
pseudo-connectedness, we've forgotten what it's like to really connect? In a world where kids can only communicate
with others through a text message, the art of conversation is
disappearing. People only listen to
respond, not to understand, and certainly not to really hear. And with so much text-messaging and chatting
and Facebooking and Twittering, over half of what is really said in a
conversation is missed because about 80% of all communication is
nonverbal. Generally speaking, people
are not really connecting anymore. So,
maybe, we just have to crash into someone just so we can feel something,
because nobody really sees us or listens to us anymore.
THAT is how I feel every time I get to have a conversation
with somebody who is not inside my little bubble! And I love it. I used to hate it. I hated the butterflies I would get in my
stomach any time it looked like someone was walking toward me that might want
to have a conversation. I would pretend
like I hadn't seen them, and turn around pretending like I had seen something
interesting, or like I had been lost in thought and was doing the
"thousand-yard stare." But, I
have come to make friends with those butterflies. They are my signal that I need to move, to be
the first to move, to say something, anything.
In fact, I've told several people that once I've made up my mind to know
you, you pretty much have no choice. You
can choose how far in you are going to let me.
But we are going to talk. And I
am not going to be ashamed for it.
Because if nothing else, you will leave me knowing that I heard you and
was genuinely interested in whatever it is you chose to talk about that
day. Then, the next time I see you, I am
going to ask you about that thing you told me.
Then, the next time I see you, I’m going to ask you about the next thing
you told me. Then, the next time I see
you….well, you get the picture. I just
want to hear your story, and I want you to know that I've heard you. We don't have to have anything in common, at
first. But by the time we are done,
there will be something we share. Even
if it's just the 15 minutes we were talking.
That is 15 minutes you'll never be able to get back again because you've
lost it to someone who cared enough about you to listen to your story for those
15 minutes, and that I asked for whatever it is you told me.
LIVE: "Now look back at the theme you wrote
down from the passage and at the traits you noticed about God. How do you picture this God responding to you
as you think about the situation you faced?
Do you sense him speaking a personal message to you? What is it?
(If you have a tendency to assume what God's response would be, say,
something similar to what an authority figure in your life might say, resist
that.) If you feel clueless about what
God might be saying to you, offer this up to him and ask him to show in the coming
Looking back at the Crash quote, the idea that comes to me
is: We were created for
relationships. At the end of each day,
of each creation, God looked and said that it was good, except with Adam. With Adam, he looked and said that it was not
good for man to be alone. We are told
not to forsake the gathering together.
We are told that as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens
another. These all testify to the fact
that we are not supposed to go through life alone, thinking that we can do
whatever we want and it will never affect anyone else; thinking that what goes
on in other countries will not affect us.
It cannot happen.
In other circles, this has been called the
began talking about something they called the Butterfly Effect. The idea was that if a
butterfly chances to flap his wings in Beijing in March, then, by August,
hurricane patterns in the Atlantic will be completely different.
happens in a vacuum. In fact, nature
abhors a vacuum. If a hole is created,
something will rush in to fill it. We
all have a hole in our hearts that we try to fill. It is only designed to be filled by God, but
that does not stop us from trying to fill it with everything else under the
sun. But we were also designed for
relationships. The problem is that sin crept into the world back in creation
and now our relationships are tainted by selfishness and
self-centeredness. We are all so
concerned with ourselves or with what others will think of us, that we are
paralyzed into inaction, unless and until we are acted upon by some outside
force. As my husband is fond of
saying: It's basic physics.
what if we stopped waiting for someone to crash into us before we started
moving. What if we used our own
discomfort to spur us into moving? What
if we stopped trying to fill that ache in our souls with food or pornography or
money or work and filled it with God, and then allowed our overflow to bubble
out around us, onto those who most desperately need it, instead of waiting,
hoping that others would bubble out onto us.
that, I am going to leave you. I am
going to go connect with people, rather than crash into them, and I am going to
pour into their lives, trusting that God will take care of what I need. The Son of Man had no home and no place to
lay his head, yet he poured into the lives of everyone he encountered. My prayer is that, by the end of the day, I
will be able to say the same thing. God
bless you all!