Published in the Titus Women’s Ministry eNews
November 21. 2014
Never take advantage of poor and destitute laborers, whether they are fellow Israelites or foreigners living in your towns. You must pay them their wages each day before sunset because they are poor and are counting on it. If you don’t, they might cry out to the Lord against you, and it would be counted against you as sin.
Deuteronomy 24:14-15 (NLT)
What does this word tell me about God’s heart? We live in the self- centered world with a mindset that says “I deserve everything and I want it cheap.” We often have no thought for those who have farmed it, made it or served it. From child slaves on cocoa farms in West Africa to factory workers in Bangladesh, barely paid and working in dangerous conditions, to local, exploited workers, there are many who are taken advantage of in the systems we support by the way we shop and use services. Maybe they are trafficked workers in the nail bars and restaurants we visit? I need to pray about what I am buying; what were the conditions of the people who farmed or made it or how the people serving us are treated? If I share God’s compassion I will take time to find out. These verses speak the uncomfortable truth that the destitute, unfairly treated laborers cry out and the Lord hears their cry. This is about God’s character and we are hispeople who want to be filled with his Spirit so this word is for us.
When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don’t go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Then the Lord your God will bless you in all you do. When you beat the olives from your olive trees, don’t go over the boughs twice. Leave the remaining olives for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Deuteronomy 24:19-20 (NLT)
Do you hear God calling for a radical attitude to our work, resources and possessions? If we gratefully recognize that everything we earn and possess is from His gracious hand, we cannot cling on to every last part of it with clenched fists. This is a picture of a heart that is holding it all with open hands and making it available to the Lord who calls us to the widows, orphans and strangers over 50 times in scripture. Blessing is promised. Maybe we need to pray about what we give overseas, but there is a lifestyle commanded here to be mindful of those all around us who are heavy on God’s heart. Who are the hurting children with no secure family to nurture them or teach them? Who are the vulnerable women, struggling, looked down upon by others? How is Jesus calling us to those who are broken, abused, alone, poor and neglected in our communities? Let’s pray that God’s heart of compassion and justice will overflow in our working, spending, giving, praying, interacting, serving and our loving with the mind of Christ.
Fiona lives in Wilmore with her husband and two adopted daughters. She works with Titus women and for ministry to young women in Africa and she is passionate about connecting the word of God with the real issues in our hearts and our world.