Ryan & Jordan

with Pioneer Bible Translators

Tag: justice

wealth, poverty & wisdom

by ryan

As the ‘economy’ in the United States struggles and as the country plunges deeper and deeper into debt, many are wondering what they can trust in.  We don’t think wealth is the answer.  There is an old Hebrew proverb that reads:

Those who trust in their wealth are headed for great disappointment,

but those who do right will sprout like green leaves.

 בֹּוטֵ֣חַ בְּ֭עָשְׁרֹו ה֣וּא יִפֹּ֑ל וְ֝כֶעָלֶ֗ה צַדִּיקִ֥ים יִפְרָֽחוּ׃

We don’t trust in ourselves anymore either.  And we don’t believe the government can solve our biggest problems.  Ironically, American currency reads,

In God we trust.

Many Americans don’t trust in God, but we do.  Which means we don’t worry when economies collapse or even when empires fall.  Jesus helps us with this.  He says don’t worry about the basic necessities of life because God knows what we need and he is looking out for us.

Instead, he encourages us to look after others’ needs.  Instead of worrying about ourselves, we get to join God in taking care of people.  Imagine a world where we completely forsake pursuing our own financial security and only seek the good of our neighbors in need.   Imagine a world where instead of exploiting the poor, the poor are cherished.

Jesus says when we care for the poor we are caring for him; when we neglect the poor, we neglect him.

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There & Back Again: not quite yet

by ryan

We’re interrupting our road trip recounting because our hearts are heavy.

Would you please pray for justice & peace in Syria?

Would you please pray for peace in Lebanon and in the nation-state of Israel?

This world is full of pain & sorrow, and yet in the midst of it all we can be surprised by Joy Himself.  Grace.  And in that moment God draws us closer to himself.  As the Syrian civil war has been raging, I have often been convicted about my priorities.  So often I am self-focused and running about because of things that don’t really matter much.

All of this reminds me of a conversation a group of us had this week with Brian Doerksen and Dorothy M. Peters.  Many of the Hebrew songs in the Bible come out of a state of anguish or lament (Psalms 3,5,6,7,10, 137 to list a few), yet we do not often sing these songs (ever listen to “Christian” radio?).   Often the Psalms are an intertwining of praise & faith in the midst of pain, or praise because God has delivered (Psalm 30 for example).  Let us learn from the psalmists, singing new songs to God in confident trust not hiding our tears or fears, knowing he is the Sovereign One.  Even in our pain & mourning.  His mercies are new each morning (Lamentations).  And his faithfulness?  Psalm 36.

Have Mercy

by ryan

One day Jesus went up a hill with his disciples and taught them.  As it is written:

Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι,

ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.

Or, in English:

The Spiritually Bankrupt are blessed,

because the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

Spiritually what?

Let me tell you a story inspired by a story Jesus told (Luke, chapter 18).

One day two very different men happened to be praying side by side at an important spiritual place.  One man was a religious expert, an authority on the Scriptures.  The other was a business man who cheated people, embezzled funds and was a traitor against his people.

The Religious Man stands and prays, “God I thank you that I am not like other men: blackmailers, unjust people, people who have sex outside of marriage, or this bad business man next to me.  I fast twice a week and I offer ten percent of what I get to you.”

The Business Man didn’t even look up. “God, be merciful to me, a man who has wronged you.”

Then Jesus says, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who realize they could never be good enough to earn God’s forgiveness and favor–the Spiritually Bankrupt.

We are all Spiritually Bankrupt.  The thing is, only some people ask for mercy.

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We’d like to thank our friend Matthew for teaching what inspired this reflection .