St. John’s EBCs, Everyday Bible Conversations!
For the week leading to worship, May 22nd
This week’s Theme: Thank God We Don’t Owe It Back!
Readings: We Make The Road By Walking, Chapter 38
Summary of the Reading
Deuteronomy 15 is the sort of Bible passage EBC is made for! In ancient Jewish tradition, at the end of every seventh year, creditors were required to forgive the loans to debtors. The context of the passage makes clear these were not seven-year loans, but rather that every seventh year, debtors were simply forgiven their debts. What, do you imagine, this un-capitalistic Jewish law – a law we certainly do not follow – would have to do with our Everyday Lives? Deuteronomy 15 is wonderfully pragmatic, for it anticipates the problem: “Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart and you say, ‘the seventh year, the year of the release is near, and your eye look grudgingly on your poor brother, and you give him nothing. . . ..’” (Deuteronomy 15:9) You see, the Jewish law wasn’t a regulation, there to be used strategically or shrewdly. It was a command to love your neighbor! “You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give. . . .” (Deuteronomy 15:10).
A Transforming Question:
What would our giving be like if we expected “payback” for our generosity? How would it affect those who we help if they were forever meant to be indebted to us after accepting our aid? Can you see that the Jewish debt release is meant to encourage the freedom and joy to give at least as much as it frees the poor form the crippling weight of their need?
An Everyday Question:
Can you hear a bigger message – of forgiveness – in Deuteronomy 15? What if we were merely borrowers of God’s Grace, meant to “payback” Jesus’ gracious gift? When the debt became due, how could we ever “pay up?” Would we be expected to give the Grace back? What does it mean in our Everyday Lives that God cancels the debt just as soon as the gift of forgiveness is given?
An Action Step:
Give to those in need! And rejoice that they are unburdened by any expectation to pay it back! For God shows us what it means to give love unconditionally!
Don’t like these questions? Do these verses and WMRW say something different to you? Great! What it is?
Find a friend (or two or many) and take an EBC coffee break! Find 15-25 minutes somewhere in the week and come to share or just listen enjoy company. Have fun finding God this week in your Everyday Life!