Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2005
[Title] Lord of Our Resources
[Texts] James 1:16, 17; Leviticus 27:30; Malachi 3:8-10; Matthew 6: 19-21, 24: 45-51; 1Timothy 6:6.
[Use] August 20, 2005
The homes of some of Gaza's 8,500 settlers in Israel are the focus of attention this week as the deadline for them to leave the land many have resided on for years has passed. Israel captured the land in 1967 from the Palestinians in what the World Court calls an illegal war.
According to Reuter's news (online update), Israel will need to remove residents from 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip and four of 120 in the West Bank by the middle of this week. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon calls the pull out a "disengagement" from conflict with the Palestinians. The irony is that Jews are expelling Jews.
Jewish settlers observed a bittersweet "last Sabbath" in Gaza on August 13th. They prayed for a miracle that they would not be uprooted from their homes and jobs. Many settlers had already left peacefully while others protested the order and created human roadblocks, forcing authorities to take more extreme actions than originally planned.
Imagine receiving a notice that you must vacate your property by a certain date. What if a moving truck that you did not order were to drive up to your home today and tell you to put all your material possession in it? The good news is, our Lord has promised to be very near people who are going through difficult times.
From another perspective, it costs more to fill up your vehicle's gas tank these days. "You need to take a loan out before you get gas," suggested one National Public Radio Broadcaster this past week as the price of gas hit another record high. With gas prices soaring in America and crude oil 50% higher than a year ago, drivers are feeling the pinch at the pump. Maybe this is the answer to the obesity problem in the States! If we can use our cars less and walk more, we get a double benefit.
How are you using your God-given resources? We have been given resources to expend on ourselves, others and on the proclamation of God's love and grace. Our study this week suggests that we make a list of valuable-to-us resources that includes far more than money. We are to take some time to evaluate what the Lord is giving us to use, not own. In John chapter 3 verse 27 we read, "A human can receive nothing unless it has been given to him or her from heaven."
While holding news conferences throughout the week, the crew of the shuttle Discovery suggested that from their vantage point in space the world resources are precious. "They are all of ours to share and we need to take good care of them," stated Commander Collins.
What about the precious resources the Lord has given you? If an accounting were asked for today of how you used what you have been given, would you be eager to share or be embarrassed?--ck