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The most important message I picked up from today’s readings overall is be grateful in all things, acknowledge the help we receive, and give back.
My primary takeaway from each of the passages was this:
- Exodus 21-22 – Detailed examples of ways to break the Ten Commandments. The “eye for an eye” law that Jesus overturns later with his instruction to “turn the other cheek.”The recourse to be taken for specific offenses. The law of “first fruits.”
- Mark 8 – Even when miraculous evidence of God occurs, it is so easy to forget once the event passes and the wonder subsides. Faith is a constant struggle and continuous recommitment.
- Psalms 36 – God sees our struggles and those who maliciously plot against us. When he comes through for us we should acknowledge his help and show gratitude.
- Proverbs 5 – The allure and temptation of extramarital affairs may be tempting to some, but they are never worth it.
The law of “first fruits” always gets my attention. We humans can be really arrogant and behave as if we invented and created the world. But the truth is that we are the offspring of this world, not its creators. We sprang from the Earth just like all the other plants and animals. All we need comes from the Earth. So often (most often) when we are successful we behave as if we created that success, too. We forget that we didn’t do it by ourselves. Even if we are sole proprietors in a self-employment situation, our livelihood depends on customers and service providers. And if we are people of faith we know that connection between what we offer and the people who are willing to pay for it did not happen by coincidence. The energy to persevere until we succeed didn’t just come from nowhere.
The law of “first fruits” reminds us that we are to give back the first part of what we create in success as a way of acknowledging that our success is a gift from God. It’s pretty simple, really. Even if you don’t believe in God, you could honor the law of “first fruits” as a way of acknowledging that a lot of other people helped you get where you are.
That’s what I got out of it. What did you get out of the readings today?
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