Stewardship; January 17, 2018

Isaiah 23:18 Yet her profit and her earnings will be set apart for the Lord; they will not be stored up or hoarded. Her profits will go to those who live before the Lord, for abundant food and fine clothes.

On the face of it, this is a very strange verse. The city of Tyre, one of the historic commercial hubs of the Mediterranean world, is spoken of as a prostitute. I take that as simply being willing to do anything to make a profit. There are plenty of people like that, who throw morality and everything else out the window because of their love of money. As Paul said, the love of money can cause just about every kind of evil. (1 Timothy 6:10) It is sadly ironic that many financially wealthy people are morally bankrupt. However, that’s not what this verse is dwelling on. This verse is saying that those immoral profits will go to bless those who have the right priorities. I don’t remember the details, but I heard a story about a mobster who gave a lot of money to a church, and the pastor was confronted about why he didn’t refuse the gift. His response was, “The devil has had this money long enough!” This verse would certainly seem to support that position. God supplies the needs of His people, and He sometimes uses what seem to us to be very strange means to do that. Another thing that strikes me about this verse is the reference to abundant food and fine clothes. Back then, the poor had neither. Today, even those “below the poverty line” in America live in what would have been considered luxury in times past. Rather than scarcity, obesity is a national problem. It would do us well to wake up to how abundant our lives are, to be better stewards and to give God the thanks and praise He deserves.

This applies to me as much as it does to anyone. I certainly live in what would have been considered “the lap of luxury” not that long ago. I have technology at my disposal that was literally the stuff of science fiction within my own lifetime, yet I take it for granted and complain when it doesn’t do what would have been considered miraculous not that long ago. I too need to put my focus on God’s kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33) rather than being distracted by all the stuff around me. I am to be careful that my own income is earned in ways that honor God, but not be surprised if God supplies resources in strange ways. The point is not to focus on the supply, but rather on what God wants me to do with it. It is possible to love money whether I have it or not, and such love will always be a snare.

Father, thank You for Your abundant supply. Help me recognize how much You have already blessed us and be appropriately grateful, not worrying about where the next supply is coming from but rather seeking how You want me to use what is already in my hands, to do Your will on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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2 Responses to Stewardship; January 17, 2018

  1. Chan Woo Huh says:

    Questions in related to the story of a mobster who gave a lot of money to a church;

    1.What kind of church was it? A Catholic, or Evangelical,etc.
    2. What is your thoughts of the warning of God in Deuteronomy 23:18 ” You must not bring the earnings of a female prostitute or a male prostitute into the house of the Lord your God to pay any vow, because the Lord your God detest them both” even though they may be a different cases.

    The money given to church by a mobster may not be earned in the protestant work ethics as the earned money by a prostitute.

    • jgarrott says:

      To be honest, I’m not sure of the church, but my recollection is that it was Catholic (which would make the one receiving the cash a priest rather than a pastor). I’m just going on the basis of what God said about Tyre.

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