Bob reads to me while I sit in my great-grandmother’s rocking chair and crochet, complete with the dog on the rug—seriously, we look like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting, only in blue jeans.
Our most recent book (at this writing) is Ayn Rand’s tome entitled Atlas Shrugged. Not for the faint of heart, mind you, and not something you’ll find in the religious section of Barnes and Noble, but with some very timely and important ideas on economic integrity, possibly more applicable now than when it was written.
In her novel, she refers to the conflict between the “producers”, those who put their hand to the plow and make stuff, and the “looters”, those who somehow feel entitled to live off the hard work of the producers without significant contribution of their own, simply because they feel they need it. Of course, “need” is precariously defined to the destruction of those who produce.
My disclaimer: I’m not an economist. Anyway, that’s not the thought I want to convey here.
Context: the Hebrew nation is (still) about to step into the Promised Land, and Moses is (still) giving them last minute instructions. Check this out:
“When the LORD your God goes ahead of you and destroys the nations and you drive them out and live in their land,…”
I see a definite partnership with God here—the Almighty will destroy the enemy while at the same time the Hebrews are to clean house (“drive them out”, which is dirty work as well) and occupy. The Promised Land was just that—land that was promised, but that didn’t mean they weren’t going to have to work for it. And hard. Sweat, blood, sacrifice, mistakes, and try again. (Read about it, it’s pretty dramatic, and makes me feel better about myself…)
Interestingly, when I compare that to my personal salvation, and that 21st century idea that turning my life over to Jesus is “all there is to it”, uh, I don’t think that’s what God has in mind:
“But I say, ‘How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.’”
“He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
…to quote only a few.
Do we earn our salvation? Of course not! Do we partner with God to change into the likeness of all He purposes for us to be after He saves us—absolutely! And it calls for blood, sweat, and tears, hard work, mistakes, and (oftentimes) self-forgiveness.
Because I don’t want to be a “looter” of God’s amazing grace, but a “producer” in His kingdom on Earth.
Hand to plow, and keep it there.
Deuteronomy 12:29; James 2:18; 2 Peter 3:9; Romans 12:2 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.