Once upon a time, in the days of Isaiah, the people began to wonder if God took notice of the good things they were up to – fasting, humbling themselves and the like.
God basically responded, “Is that what you call acceptable? What you’re doin’ ain’t workin’! It doesn’t do any good to fast if it makes you crabby. And don’t try to impress me with your piety if you’re exploiting the folks who work for you.
And then He laid it all out for them:
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. (Is. 58)
God is just not impressed with a faith that is all about “Thee and me.” To Him, that’s just putting lipstick on the pig.
All the good things of life – the really amazing, powerful, feel-good things of life – unfold when we share…share our food and clothes, open our homes and generally spend ourselves on behalf of those who are past spent – the broke, powerless, orphaned, vulnerable and truly at-risk.
You’d think all that feeding, providing and liberating would just wear you out, and I know many of you already feel pretty spent with work and kids and bills and such. You know all about life in the sun-scorched land.
You would think that watering your own garden would make it green, but it doesn’t. You have been self-medicating your dis-ease for years and healing still eludes you. Dawn never seems to lighten your darkness and your cries to God only echo in the silence.
JMI is a place to connect with things that truly matter to God….to find your life by losing it….to be friends with the sort of people Jesus spent himself on….to find your true purpose in life. If your life is lacking life, write firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and let’s talk about taking your next step!