Thursday, February 1, 2018

REPLENSISH

Genesis 1:28 reads, "And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth..." 

We learn from the very beginning that creation requires care and replenishment. Part of God's initial charge to humanity is that humanity shall be tasked with the responsibility of creation care. This means that creation (which we are apart) is not inexhaustible. Creation and humanity need replenishment.

I wonder what this might mean in a world that celebrates the "busy." If you are not busy, exhausted, stressed out... you must be lazy. 

In the 20th century, tobacco farmers were realizing how damaging tobacco was to their farmland. The tobacco crop was causing a tremendous amount of erosion after years of farming. The lands were being exhausted and they weren't being replenished. Crop rotation was introduced as a possible solution. Farmers would rotate crops each year. This would help sustain nutrients in the ground and control insects and disease. It might seem to be an ecological decision. But it is very much a spiritual one. Because it is taking seriously God's charge to replenish the earth...

Replenishment is always about giving something up... so that we might be filled with more of God. 

This is the difficulty in this charge. We don't want to give anything up. Tithing is a part of being a follower of Jesus Christ.

The tithe was typically given in the form of crops. A farmer would give his first fruits to the temple. They would be distributed to the poor, orphan, widows, immigrants, and priests. Surely this was a large sacrifice. But this was a part of God's economy. 

We empty our cup so that God might fill us even more... so that we might grow closer to God. 

Replenishment is also about our relationships.  It causes us to reflect on how we love and care for one another. Particularly those who have harmed us. Yet Christ's call is to love and forgive those that have harmed us. God's love is nutrition in the hearts of those who have been eroded by hate. So we are charged with care and compassion because they like us are a part of God's creation. 

We as a Christ-following people do nothing in vain. Everything we do leads us to a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. That is the sweetness of this journey.