Archive for the tag “Jeff Palmer”

We must do justice for them, as God has done justice for us

gleaningThe Christian mission of bringing God’s shalom justice to people in need did not originate with Jesus’ command to “Love your neighbor as yourself,” or even in Micah’s admonition from God to “Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.”

In fact, God’s law itself was very clear about his people’s responsibility to do justice on behalf of the weak and oppressed.

Jeff Palmer writes at Kingdom Communities:

In one particular passage, … God lays down His expectations for the Israelites and how they care for people in need. (Deuteronomy 24:10-22). He talks about just loans that help people and not burden them. (24:10-13) He warns against oppression of the hired hand who is due his wages each day. (24:14-15) He reminds them that each individual is responsible for his/her sin or shortcoming. (24:16-18)

Then he gives the “law” of the gleanings, whereby those who harvested their fields must leave the second harvest and the “gleanings” for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. This is not only for those mentioned in need but it is for the benefit of the landowner himself in that He says, “…so the Lord God may bless you in all the work of your hands.”(24:19)

… The truth is that all of us – rich or poor, wise or foolish, strong or weak – owe our lives and everything we have to God. We are all slaves to sin. We are born into it. However, by the merciful grace of God, we, who have placed our trust and lives in the hands of Jesus, have been made rich in His abundance. Everything we have has been given to us by our good and loving Father and in turn, we should be open handed with what we have – little or great – because He has been open handed with us.

… Our status as “slaves” (to sin, to things, to anything that would take us away from God) should remind us that we should be totally dependent upon God. And that total dependency should create an eternal gratefulness motivating us to care for the needy.

Read the full article by clicking here.

Jeff Palmer is executive director of Baptist Global Response, an international relief and development organization that connects people who care with people in need. Find out more about them at gobgr.org.

For the foreigner, fatherless and widow

By Jeff Palmer

In Deuteronomy chapter 5, after the giving of the ten commandments (which most folks are familiar with), God through Moses gives an exposition of what it means to follow the commandments (chapter 6 and following to the end of the book). He expands the commandments out to practical living and tells Israel what it looks like for them to become His holy, set-apart community. There are rites and rituals, laws and commands, dos and don’ts, etc., given to help them, if they follow, to become the model community He desires for them.

It is interesting to note that these chapters are filled with social issues and responsibility. Not surprisingly they echo the “Shema” (Deuteronomy 6:4-6) where loving the Lord your God with all your heart is paralleled with practically not only following His laws but loving your fellow Israelite. Jesus summed it up when asked the greatest commandment. He said, “Love God and love your neighbor.” (Matthew 22:37-40 paraphrased)

So, Deuteronomy 6 and following is a treatise on how to be a holy people set apart by and for God the Father. In short, Israel was to…

* Follow God with all their heart

* Obey his law and be obedient

* Honor God with their resources

* Treat fairly their neighbor

There is obviously much more in these chapters but there is a strange phrase that keeps poking its head up and it is…

“…for the foreigner, the fatherless, and the widow.”

Loving God requires us to love others as ourselves and as He loves them. Moreover, we cannot miss the fact that God has a special place in His heart for those who are least able to help themselves. The foreigners were aliens, refugees if you will, living among the Israelites who generally had no citizenship, voice or influence. They were pretty much at the mercy of the Hebrews. The fatherless were the orphans who had no family or in some cases, no inheritance and thus no hope. They needed someone to care for them. And the widows were those who were in many cases left alone to fend for them selves and were at the mercy of the greater community.

God said when we remember these “least” of all in society, it brings about God’s blessing on the work of our hands (Deuteronomy 24:19). And we should remember them because we are what we are because of His blessings and nothing else (Deuteronomy 24:22). Furthermore, He commands us to care for these: the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow (Deuteronomy 24:22b).

Our devotion and worship of God is required and many of us are good at this (or at least attending a church service somewhere). But our care for those who can’t care for themselves is also just as important (according to God’s Word).

So, my question for today is…

“What have I done and what am I doing for the least of these: the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow?”

Jeff Palmer is executive director of Baptist Global Response. He blogs at Kingdom Communities.

Kingdom Development

Jeff Palmer

Jesus came proclaiming that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Therefore, we as Christian community development workers are in reality Kingdom development workers. For we, as Kingdom people, are ambassadors with a message of good news and abundant life. We are called, set apart and sent forth with the goal of seeing truly transformed individuals and communities whose lives are changed by the fact the Kingdom of God can and has come among them.

Click to purchase on BGR site
(Purchase benefits Multiply Justice partner projects)

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