Thursday, January 5, 2017

Isaiah 58:6-14

Isaiah 58:6-14
English Standard Version (ESV)

 This is the vision for God's community -- not only are we freed from what binds us, but also we are satisfied by the love and grace of God.  And the best thing is that it isn't just an individual vision -- it's a communal one.
  So often, when we're thinking about religious things, we boil it down to what it means for us.  We want to be sure we are secure, and only then are we often willing to think about others, if we are going to be brutally honest.  First and foremost, we make it about us.  It's like an employee whose highest concern is the self, and only then will they think about the company.  While the employee may succeed, the company will probably suffer as a result.  In the same way, focusing on the self may lead to a deeper individual relationship with God, but the community suffers because we aren't contributing to the greater whole.
  So I'd challenge you this year to think about the role you play in the religious community.  How are you contributing your gifts?  Does your vision of heaven extend beyond yourself and force you to think about how God is meeting the needs of all people, seeking to save and satisfy all people?  It's a much bigger challenge and often forces us out of our comfort zone, but it encourages us to let our faithfulness lead us out of ourselves and to spread the hope and love of God with others.

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