Friday, January 05, 2007

Not One Sandal Strap

I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, "I have made Abram rich."

The temptation to curry favor with the powerful can ruin us. For those who have youngsters, it is a constant source of concern that your children will "fall in with" the wrong crowd. We pray that our children will not compromise the principles which we have taught them in order to impress their peers and thereby, gain reputation.

How often we fall short in this area. Instead of refusing favor and riches as Abram did, we compromise for the sake of "peace" and ease. We treat people differently according to their status and their ability to reward us with their favor. As a pastor, this temptation is particularly evident. Do we treat the poor church member the same as the one who has money? Do we treat those with little influence the same as we do those who hold sway? Would we come down more quickly and more harshly on the lesser brother for a sin we might overlook in others? Sadly, I believe that we do.

This passage represents, amongst other things, Abram's unwillingness to have others take credit for what God has promised to do. God promised to make Abram great, and at the end of the day, Abram wanted God and God alone to be able to take credit for it. His faith informed him that he did not need the King of Sodom's approval or money to help God fulfill the promise which He made to him.

It should not be our desire as Christians to be "self-made men." Nor should we credit only the benevolence of others for who we become. Rather, we should be able to say with Paul, "By the grace of God, I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). Certainly, Paul became who he was with the help of Barnabas, but Barnabas helped Paul for the glory of God. A sincere brother reaching out a helping hand in the Name of the Lord is different than one who helps in order to puff up his own pride or to hold us as debtors. May we all trust God to make a name for us, and may we never seek to help Him out through a means that would compromise our witness or His fame.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now you are on it, Brad...