Sunday, March 1, 2009

The First Sunday in Lent

Deuteronomy 8:1-10
v. 10 You shall eat your fill and bless the LORD your God for the good land that he has given you.

This is a neat summary of Israel's faith, and, therefore, ours. Use the gifts God has given you and bless God for them. Perhaps the using is itself the blessing.

Two things stand out for me in this little verse. The first is "You shall eat your fill." I think the implication is "and no more." Gorging is not on the biblical agenda. You don't have to watch much advertising on television to figure out that it is on ours (or at least the advertisers want it to be). In the old days this was called "gluttony," one of "the seven deadly sins." Perhaps we are in need of a revival in our understanding of this sin. The future of the planet may depend on it, if nothing else.

Second of all, "You shall...bless the Lord." Blessing is something we are used to thinking about receiving rather than giving. The Bible understands it as a two way street. Blessing is both about gifts received and thanks given. God, in a sense, needs our blessing as much as we need God's.

It occurs to me on a personal level that I am surrounded by so much "too much" that if I think hard about it, it makes me dizzy. In this case, a little dizziness would do me a lot of good. It is a significant spiritual issue for me (and I know that I'm not alone here!) to discern between "enough" and "too much." The future of the planet not only depends on this discernment, the health of my own soul does as well.

This discernment, by the way, is what we mean when we use the word "stewardship." This discernment is stewardship's core issue. Stewardship really is primarily not about fundraising, but about fundamental spirituality.

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