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..." 

Sunday
Jun222014

TRUSTING THE HOLY SPIRIT

George Fox, Quaker founder, influenced many in England, including William Penn. The son of a distinguished admiral, Penn wore a sword. As he learned more about the Quaker doctrine of non-violence, Penn asked Fox, “Should I wear a sword?” Fox’ reply: “Wear the sword as long as thou canst.”

--From The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes, Clifton Fadiman, General Editor, 1985, p. 217.

 

Comments

If that story astonished you, you don’t need to read this commentary. If you were puzzled or indifferent, I encourage you to read on.

We know William Penn, Jr. as the founder of Philadelphia and the province of Pennsylvania—the Englishman who dealt fairly with the local Native Americns. But in England, William Penn, Jr. was a member of the aristocracy, and was known at first because of his father, Admiral William Penn. Later he was known, persecuted, and imprisoned as a Quaker.

Why did he wear a sword? It was the badge of the aristocracy, a ready and deadly weapon of defense when the poor became aggressive.

In contrast, Quaker George Fox loathed the aristocracy. He was a leveler, and considered all people equal. Thus, he took off his hat for no one and addressed everyone as thou, including Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector.

The real impact of the story above is Fox’ unusual response. Let’s cast the question and answer in today’s terms. How would Christian moralizers answer these questions?

+ Should I quit smoking?

+ Should I quit drinking?

+ Should I stop doing drugs?

Fox’ reply of “wear it as long as thou canst” shows his total trust in the power of the Holy Spirit to change our hearts, minds, and behavior.

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Fox’ strategy worked. A few weeks later, Fox met Penn, who was now swordless. Fox asked, “Where is thy sword?” Penn replied, “I wore it as long as I could.”

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Purpose of this blog is to compile several books for my grandchildren to read in 25 years.

Copyright  ©  2014 by Jack Towe

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