September 29 Reflections

God is always first. I have said this often in messages. First in importance, yes, but also first in order. For instance, God has always existed, then Father, Son and Holy Spirit create. God loves first, from that first love, we love. The commandments can be seen this way. They are given because of who God is…first. God is the giver of life. He protects life, nurtures and cultivates life. Therefore, this is what we are called to do, not murder others. God is the ultimate faithful lover; therefore, we are to be faithful lovers, not committing spiritual or relational adultery. God is the first generous giver…it is his nature to give, therefore we are to have a generous spirit and not steal. God is always first. It is from a relationship with the living God that we called to reflect him to the world.

Two questions that I and many others struggle with are: Am I enough? And will I have enough? I believe these are at the root of stealing something that is not ours, whether it is money by all sorts of means, or cheating on a test, or plagiarizing, or shoplifting. The bottom line is taking something that is not ours. If I don’t believe I am enough, I must get things that make me enough. If I can’t afford that piece of clothing which I think will make me enough, I will shoplift it. There is story after story of people who grew up poor, that go off on a mission of making enough so they will never be poor, but their mission includes breaking the law and cheating and swindling others, so they will have enough. If it was settled that I am enough…I am a child of God, loved and cared for and that God who is all loving, powerful and mighty has promised to care for me that I would have enough, the temptation to steal would be faced head on in grace.

The continuum is also seen in this command. At the foundation/start of the continuum is the truth of God’s unconditional love and our identity as a child of God…I am enough…I will have enough…our hearts and minds can wander away…I am not enough…I don’t have enough…we began to think of ways to be enough and have enough…we start small ( a little amount of money…cheat a little bit on a test)…began to move to bigger amounts…cheating others out of their livelihood…farther and farther away from I am enough…God says I will have enough. At any point you can turn and go back to the Father. The effect of taking $10.00 from your mom’s purse is different that embezzling millions of dollars and forfeiting 100’s of families livelihoods. Both are sin, but they are not equal…one is much further down the continuum.  Both require turning back to the One who loves you more than anyone else in the world. We are going to think about this together on Sunday. Some passages to read and reflect on: Exodus 20:15; Matthew7:7-12; John 3:16-17; Isaiah 58:5-10.

Grace upon Grace,

Pastor Verlyn