Pastor’s Desk May 20th

Scripture Passage:  “Beware that there be not a thought in your wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and your eye be evil against your poor brother, and you give him naught; and he cry unto the Lord against you, and it be sin unto you.  Deuteronomy 15:9
Dear Friends,
Every seventh year in the Hebrew calendar was a year of release.  If a Hebrew had to become an indentured servant to pay off a debt, he would serve six years and on the seventh would be released.  The debt would be considered paid in full and whatever land and possessions he owned would be returned unto him.  The lender was to take from his flock, his land, and his vineyards and give to his servant so he did not go out empty handed.  Every seventh year would also be a time of release for the land.  Six years the land would be tilled and harvested, but on the seventh it was to lay fallow.  During the seventh year the poor people were given the opportunity to gather what the fields and vineyards produced.  The Lord said that by taking care of the poor, we would be blessed. This was the reason God had blessed them, so that they might help others and by doing this God would bless everything their hand was put to.  They were blessed that they might be a blessing.  The blessings that were given was really not their own, but simply a distribution of God’s provisions and bounty.
The verse in our Scripture passage troubles me deeply.  It troubles me because I see it being lived out in real life on a daily basis, and secondly because I see some of that in my attitude as I deal with a constant barrage of benevolence calls at the church.
The man’s thinking in verse 9 was this:  This is the sixth year of the seven year cycle.  If I loan him the money now, I will just have to release him from the debt next year.  He will receive the full benefit of the loan while I will be earning little to no interest, and will lose the entire principle in a year.  I will not be making money.  I will be losing money.  Everyone knows that is poor business management.  God says, “It is not your money, it is my money.  You are not losing money, but gaining money, because I am blessing you over and above your labors.”  “I am covering the principle and the interest and your cash-flow in is far surpassing your debits.”  We are told not to let our heart become wicked by withholding from the poor.  We are not to have an evil eye toward our brothers because they have come upon hard times.  We are to treat them as we would want to be treated.  If we sin against our brother in his hour of need, we also sin against God.  It just may be that in your dealings with a brother in need, that you will make a friend for life who turns out to be a great asset.
In Christ,
Pastor Johnny