By God’s grace we can be conduits of God’s infinite love, with our time, our money, and our love. We can be windows for others to God.
Take time just now to consider how God can use all your resources to bring God's love to the world.next >
Hear this, you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land, saying, “When will the new moon be over so that we may sell grain; and the sabbath, so that we may offer wheat for sale? We will make the ephah small and the shekel great, and practice deceit with false balances, buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and selling the sweepings of the wheat.” The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob: Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.
Amos 8:4-7next >
Amos was a farmer-turned-prophet. He gave his message 2800 years ago to Jews in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Even so, his words hit with fresh force, and they could be out of any newspaper today. He charged his listeners with cheating people by using dishonest scales to measure out the grain; wanting markets to be open 24/7, even on holy days; selling to the poor food that has been on the floor and swept up; and buying the poor as slaves, for the price of a pair of sandals.
Amos ends with some of the most chilling words in the Hebrew Bible: “Truly, I will never forget any of their deeds.” The evil done to the poor and needy causes God to swear.
This is not just Wall Street CEOs that Amos is accusing. It’s not just stores that make their employees work on holidays or ridiculous hours. He is not just pointing to those who serve unsafe food or those who traffic children into sexual slavery.
God’s words in Amos convict each and every one of us when we forget the poor and the hungry among us.
Michael Useynext >
O God, never let me neglect the poor and hungry right next to me. Let me see their need, and help me to meet it. Amen.next >
Be generous with your time,
And your love
To all those around you.
But get ready to be surprised
By how your generosity is
Made bigger by the exceeding
Generosity of God.
Michael Usey is pastor of College Park, an American Baptist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. He grew up in San Diego and so speaks fluent Californian. His wife, Ann, teaches English at a Quaker high school. Together they have three wild and wonderful offspring—Nathan (20), Zachariah (18), and Hannah (14), as well as two dogs, Lily & Loki.
Tis a Gift to Be Simple