Day 25 Devotional & Discussion – March 18, 2015

Exodus 16:1-21

God’s instructions were clear. Everyone was to gather 1 omer of the manna per person per day. Yet some insisted on collecting more. What motivates people to hoard or collect as much as they can? Today, we see unprecedented income inequality. Some have more than they can ever spend while others barely survive. What do you think God would say to those who have more than they need? (see James 5:1-3 for a suggestion.)

 

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3 comments

  1. I suppose greed and selfishness are the easy answers to why people hoard. I think for myself fear is a part of the emotion mix. If I don’t collect a ton on Friday, how will I have enough on Saturday? In my own life I faced that a bit this winter with the opportunity to shovel snow. The pay is pretty good, but did I need to get up at 3am and shovel a few hours to make extra money? Couldn’t I trust the Lord to provide? But what if his provision is the opportunity to shovel? I shoveled with mix motivations. Fear. Wise stewardship. I don’t know. I know this: with four kids, two of whom are teens, the money goes very fast.

    I think part of the problem is misconceived need. Do we need smartphones? Do we need new furniture? Two cars? I think of all the bills we are paying. I shovel and teach adjunct online classes because I need to pay those bills. But aren’t those “needs” actually wants that have complicated my life?

    My son “needed” a vehicle, but now he has a car payment and minimum wage isn’t cutting it. If he didn’t have a vehicle, or as nice of a vehicle as he got, he wouldn’t have a payment and minimum wage would be fine. It was an issue of needs vs. wants. REM once sang “what we want and what we need has been confused.” I know that is true of me.

    And so that goes to your final question. I have more than I need. I think God would say “get rid of it.” “Give it away.” “Live more simply.” “Be generous.” But will I?

  2. The fear factor…. We are so afraid of running out. Resources are scarce. Jobs are scarce. Money is tight. The manna might not show up tomorrow, so we’d better save, save, save. Our whole way of life is built on the foundational belief in scarcity (which is a human construct/reality) rather than on abundance (which is God’s gracious gift meant for everyone). God, deliver us from the fears that possess us.

  3. It is liberating to mind body and soul to live and breathe in the abundance. I recall the Potlatch of Northwest Indigenous peoples where the the limited abundance was shared and status in the tribe was determined by who gave the most stuff away. This was done to the point of bankrupting the giver. Of course the giver belonged to the community. He knew he would not starve as the most exalted member of the tribe.
    We have unprecedented abundance now. Technology exists which can provide for all. That much is indisputable. Does God want us to pay for everything we need or to hoard against the need of our neighbor? Clearly not. Previous humans managed scarcity unequally and unfairly – the moral instruction never stopped the sin of hoarding and coveting except in self contained tribes – where like my friend pointed out – sociopaths and psychopaths were ostracized if they behaved badly. Today the church confronts a situation where the sociopaths are running the show with a twisted moral logic that one could be excused for calling satanic.
    Joel is right that we do live in illogical fear much of the time. Our challenge is to confront the sources of our broken world – trying to set it on a course of sharing the abundance. The gifts are manifold and seeing with the clarity of vision we are developing here, we will be able to instruct and learn how society is to manage the incredible abundance – an unprecedented problem for humanity.

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