Last week we shared a study to begin seeing the story of God through the gifts and promises of Abundance AND Generosity.
The Bible tells the story of God’s generosity, from beginning to end, from the gift of an abundant creation, an earth overflowing with more than enough for all, to the gift of Jesus himself, the gift of the Spirit, the gift of the church, the vision and promise of a new creation.
As we read through a series of passages from the Bible, I invite you to write down words or phrases that you hear in the text itself, or perhaps arising in your heart and mind, that suggest God’s abundant generosity. Perhaps you have never noticed them before, or thought of them as related to stewardship and generosity.
We’ll be drawing on the scholarship and poetic writing of the great scholar of the Old Testament, Walter Brueggemann, among others. As you listen to the readings, keep in mind three verbs: remember, trust, and share. If Brueggemann’s writings on abundance and the Bible had to be summed up in only three words, these three might be good choices.
Part 2 – In the Promised Land
When things were going well and the people prospered, God told them to remember the source of their abundance:
Read: Deuteronomy 8:12-18
Reflection question: How does such a message sound in a self-sufficient culture like ours?
Remember, trust and then share: God sends prophets to remind us when we forget that there is more than enough for all, and that God expects us to share that abundance with one another.
Read: Isaiah 1:10-17
This is one of the core themes of the Old Testament prophets and of Jesus’ teaching as well.
Today, Christians spend a lot of time and energy worrying (and arguing) about the importance of the sin of Sodom, and that’s a good thing. What, after all, was the sin of Sodom?
Let’s listen to one of the prophets:
Read: Ezekiel 16:49
Again: This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.
I’m guessing that’s not what you thought the sin of Sodom was, was it? This is why we need to be sure we understand the story of God properly. It’s why we need to read it, ask questions, know it ourselves and not just rely on others telling us what it is, or what it means…including pastors or clergy!
Reflection question: What is the still speaking God saying to us today in these words?