Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Living Justly: A Good Place to Start

When we approach Jesus by reading the Bible forward through Adam, Abraham, Moses and the prophets, we see the story line of God's activity differently than when we approach Jesus by reading the Bible backwards through Billy Graham, Wesley, Luther, Augustine and Paul.

One stark theme is "exodus". God through Moses liberates the Hebrew people from their captivity under Egyptian domination. In the same way Jesus is understood as one who has come to bring freedom to a world captive to all sorts of things.

Thus, Jesus stands up in his hometown synagogue in Nazareth and is handed the scroll of Isaiah and finds the spot where it says, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor (Luke 4:18,19).

Coming off his temptation in the wilderness and in the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is setting the tone for his entire ministry, right from the start. It will lift the low places; lower the high places; make the crooked paths straight; and smooth the rough places (Luke 3:4-6). What Jesus is getting at isn't simply a little charity. Its the wholesale rehaul of the systems and structures that keep the powerful in power and the privileged privileged at the expense of the least and the last and the lost.

If we are to follow the ways of Jesus in radical obedience (don't let that term stop you), then we are called to the same kind of kingdom work in the world. We too are commissioned with the task of Luke 4 - that the Spirit would work in power through us to bring freedom, sight, release, and to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.

And yet, living justly takes some incredible amount of foresight, commitment and selflessness. And also the problems seem beyond daunting. And the starting point is often hidden from our eyes.

Let me suggest one simple place to start. Take a look at the palm of your hand. Really. Hold your hand out in front of you, fingers and thumb tightly in. What do you see? I see, as I have been told, an area about the size of the average human stomach...

Just let that be in the space for a moment...

A good place to start may simply be (for Americans, perhaps not so simply) reducing the portion size of the meals we eat. What impact would there be on the life of one child for you to eat less, buy less groceries, eat out less, and then put the money to sponsor a Compassion Kid at about $40 per month?

Living Justly: A Just Portion

Check out: Compassion International