“Eye for an eye”? Really?? That’s the way you want to live?! It might hold back hard hearts from horrors but it won’t promote peace. It’s a concrete foundation for a house of mercy to be built on. Relationship, not retribution, is the aim. Love, not law, is the goal. Begrudging compliance moves us millimeters. Freely given mercy sets us free. Been punched? Pray back! Stolen from? Send presents, make them better than any plunder. Taken advantage of by an authority? Out-serve them with gladness. We’re not putting the world to rights here, we’re turning it right way up.
I keep coming back to John the Baptist’s pithy and precise comments on economics. It’s worth checking out the whole passage before interacting with what I’ve put below. –
Be Recklessly Generous
If you’ve got two pairs of underwear (check the footnotes people) give the spare one away to those who are lacking. No one put John forward for any prizes in personal hygeine as far as I’m aware… but this was the teaching of the greatest man born of a woman according to the narky Nazarene. If you’ve got some food in the cupboard, and your neighbour’s got none – give it away. “But what about next week?” What about it?
“Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”
Invest in Integrity
Do your job, respect the authority over you and don’t cheat the system. Perhaps I’m pushing too hard, but this instruction (and the absence of contrary instruction) implies John had no problem with a government collecting taxes, and therefore implicilty encourages private enterprise which will produce enough both to support oneself, be recklessly generous, and pay the taxman.
“Collect no more than you are authorized to do.”
Cultivate Calm Contentment
The fact that he’s speaking to soldiers, emphasises the last point, that the one preparing the way of the Lord should have no problem rendering to Caesar what is Caesar’s. It also points to a calm contentment which has no striving to violently pursue More! How different would the world look if people followed this instruction?
“Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”
I’ve seen plenty of people with integrity, ploughing away and paying their bills. Some even appear to be content with their lot, pursuing something more profound than a bigger pay packet. There are others who are recklessly generous, and make us wince as we look on, wondering about next week…
but how many of us manage to hold these three in tension?
No wonder Herod found John both pleasing and perplexing…
the status quo is always seeking to kill Jesus, because he is the one who makes all things new.
As massively inconvenient as it is for our lives…
The Lord is after whole hearts,
not hedged bets.
Who is our King?
Is He this utterly holy, and completely righteous Lord, before whom we must keep our irreverence firmly in check, lest his very presence prove our end? A person so fiery He’s blacklisted by the health and safety brigade?
Or is He so good we find ourselves partying hard before Him, feasting and festivalling, revelling in His blessing, dancing half naked – swinging our tops round our heads, before cracking out the castanets to engage in some impromptu flamenco?
Sometimes on the same day.
He’s utterly holy, completely righteous and so, so good.
Here is episode 10 – we keep musing on preaching. Dive in!
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All previous episodes can be found on the podcast page.
A podcast themed TIP this month…
Thank You – as always thank you for your eyes – for passing them over my offerings. But particularly thank you this month for your ears – really grateful to all of you who are giving the Gillett & Brims Podcast a hearing. Cheers big ears!
Improvement – Some improvements to the podcast… we now have a podcast page – brimmingover.net/podcast – with all the details on. Have also made our sound cloud page look respectable here https://soundcloud.com/gillettbrimspodcast , and the Big News… we are now on Itunes! Search for “Gillett” or “Brims” on the Itunes store, in the podcast section, and you should find us. New episodes will be posted there as they go live (as well as the blog and soundcloud). Hopefully this makes it as accessible as possible for everyone.
Please – so a simple request this month: If you’ve enjoyed the podcast, and you have access to Itunes, please would you leave a Rating and / or a Review there for us. We’d be grateful!