Journal Entry – November 11, 2017
“Kindly help us with even 150 dollars to buy food. We are suffering.”
Those were the words of Pastor Joel as he wrote to me. The words of the Apostle John were these: “If anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?”
Joel’s plea was a cry that received no response from me. Contrary to the fact that I had in my possession that which could help these brothers, I had decided to close my heart against them.
I had many questions, and although I had a growing conviction that these needs were real, I did nothing. I used the questions in my mind to rationalize my lack of action. I was being, “as shrewd as a serpent” in a world of ravenous wolves. I would not be deceived by some internet scam.
At least, these were the things I was telling myself. There was a problem with this rationale, however. It did not quiet the convictions of my heart.
I was experiencing an inner struggle with which I am well acquainted. It is the dichotomy that exists between the rationalizing of a mind that is in contradiction to the compassions of the heart.
The Sabbatical Year
In the days when the ancient Israelites were living within the borders of the land given to them by God, God was explaining to them the culture that they were to establish in their new nation. He was setting before them not only what the law of the land should be, but also the spirit in which they should observe those laws.
One of the laws was that of the “The Sabbatical Year.” The Sabbatical Year came every seventh year. It was a year which was to include several customs, among which was that all debts were to be forgiven and all Hebrew servants released. In effect, “the slate was wiped clean” for all who were under some type of bondage.
It was a year that was to be dictated not by the accountant’s ledger, but by the heart of compassion.