Why Leadings?

Not to lead, but to be led            -- by the Holy Spirit.

See Leader, Servant, or Slave? in the section below, "Walking the Walk".

Jack in Denali National Park, 2012.

God's Wrath

Why was Sodom destroyed? Ezekiel tells us in chapter 16, verse 49: "This was the sin of your sister, Sodom: Pride, full-ness of bread, and abundance of idleness. Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy."

That's also why Jerusalem was destroyed.

And now, with greed as our national virtue, what hope is there for the United States of America? We are afflicted by imperialistic pride, obesity, and entertainment addiction, and we are all called to do our part to "strengthen the hand of the poor and needy".

"Strengthen the hand" is the King James wording. Modern translations say "help the poor and needy." And there's a world of difference between the two. Helping the poor = as little as throwing some cash in the Salvation Army bucket at Christmas time. That's charity. It's doing for, not doing with.

My Grandmother was right about charity. On a below-zero day, she went out on the back porch with a skillet to throw hot grease on the back-yard snow. She shivered as she re-entered the kitchen and said, "Wooooh, colder than charity."

Strengthening the hand is much different. We get personally involved with another person who needs help, and we work with her or him to get the needed help. That's risky. You're vulnerable. It takes prayer, time and patience. You need knowledge and wisdom from the LORD. There are great rewards, however. You get a brother or sister.

Strengthening the hand is great work for our churches -- which we ignore far more often than we perform. Why? Because we're afflicted with the Ameri-can curse of individualism. Christians are to be a tribe -- a tribe that takes care of each other. In Galatians 6:16, Paul calls us "the Israel of God" -- the new 13th tribe.

Jesus said, "The poor you shall always have with you." He didn't mean that as a curse -- the notion that the poor are an inevi-table nuisance and expense, to be hidden in the slums. Rather, He was saying, "You shall always be among the poor."

When you strengthen hands, you fulfill Deuteronomy 15:4-5: "However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the LORD your God . . ." It's a glorious responsibility and promise.

And how do prosperous Americans fulfill that promise? Generally, by making sure they have no contact with people who are poor -- and we have been that way from our beginnings in the 17th century. Early villages in Massachusetts solved the problem by out-lawing poor people. Today, we deal with the same problem by confining the poor in urban reservations, our slums.

As the Supreme Court Bailiff says at the beginning of each session, "God save the United States of America..." 

Thursday
Sep152011

"DON'T WORRY. I'LL TAKE CARE OF YOU"

Chapter 6 of Jack Towe’s Spiritual Autobiography

I was anxious, frustrated and angry for committing myself to an impossibility. I skipped lunch because I was on work overload. I had to do two tasks – each of which would take the whole afternoon. This was back in 1974, before personal computers.

First, I had committed to systematize the exhibits / exhibitors for the Appalachian Council. The Appalachian Festival opened next week at Cincinnati’s Convention Center. The Council had an exhibitors meeting tonight and desperately needed the information in organized form. This was a volunteer task I had unwisely accepted.

Second, tomorrow was the funding-proposal deadline for the Ohio Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation. I was the Over-the-Rhine community administrator at Hub Services, and I had to make timely completion and submission of the proposal for HUB Services to renew its annual BVR funding.

I sat at my desk, fuming, moving papers around, accomplishing nothing. I didn’t even have the spunk to start. Then, inside my head, I heard the words, “Don’t worry. I’ll take care of you.”

That got my attention. The LORD had never spoken to me before, but I knew it was Him. I repeated the words and felt myself relax. OK, I reasoned, HUB Services pays me, so I ought to do the BVR Proposal.

I began with a pencil-written draft of the budget. Until I understand the budget, I can’t write an effective proposal. I finished in twenty minutes and walked into my boss’ office. “George, would you go over the BVR budget with me?  I need your –“

“Not now!  Too busy!  See me in the morning.” Well, OK, I thought, as I backed out of the office.

Tomorrow would be an intense, but doable day. Now, however, I was freed up to systematize the Festival plan.  I went to work.

About 3:45, I took a break and walked over to Gladys’ desk. She was an Outreach Worker and lived in Ludlow, KY. That morning, I had dropped my Toyota off at the dealer’s in Covington, KY. For picking up my car at the day’s end, I counted on Gladys for a lift across the Ohio River to Northern Kentucky. Bad news, however. Gladys wasn’t going home after work. She was going to her sister’s in Sharonville, north of Cincinnati.

That left me in another fix. About 5 p.m. the lady from the Appalachian Council was coming to my office for the completed system. The dealer closed at 5:30. I couldn’t walk that far in half an hour. No one else at the HUB lived in Northern Kentucky, and I didn’t have money for cab fare. I needed my car tonight to take my family to friends for dinner.  What to do?

I remembered the promise:  “Don’t worry.  I’ll take care of you.” 

While I didn’t know what to expect, I went back to work on the Appalachian system.  I was just finishing when the lady walked in at 4:55.  I explained the system to her and then told her about my need for a ride to Kentucky.  “No problem.  I live in Ft. Thomas.”

She dropped me off at the dealer’s, and I reflected on this amazing afternoon.  The LORD had indeed taken me through two impossible situations.  He made the rough places smooth, and I thanked Him.

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It took several years before I realized that the LORD hadn’t limited His promise to one afternoon.

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Purpose of this blog is to compile a book for my grandchildren to read in 25 years.

Copyright © 2011 by Jack Towe

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