December 5, 2014 - Giftwrapped Spoils of the Poor

December 5, 2014 - Giftwrapped Spoils of the Poor
Kazimiera I.H. Fraley

Isaiah 3:8-15
The Lord enters into judgment with the elders and princes of his people:
It is you who have devoured the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses.
 What do you mean by crushing my people, by grinding the face of the poor?
says the Lord God of hosts.

- Isaiah 3:14-15

Oh Jerusalem, they have gone and messed things up again. God is not happy. They are going get it this time!  God is calling them Sodom; they will be oppressed and ruled by those who traditionally hold no power.

What have they done this time? They have taken what rightfully belongs to the poor, have crushed them.

This season is a time of rush and flurry. The timer is going, the clock is ticking. We have a deadline. So much to do, and so little time to do it.  We rush off to the mall, list in hand. It is a great matching game, kind of like a kindergartener’s home work. Match the thing on the left with the correct thing on the right, except you have a list of names in your hand and random items to find in stores.

You walk into each store looking hoping to find items to match with the names on your list. You find things that work. Some are perfect; hands go with gloves and feet go with shoes. But, others, not so much. You find an umbrella, decide to draw your jagged line to the picture of a head and hope your teacher agrees umbrellas go with head. When all is done, you sit in your living room with the list and a pile of items, and a heart full of hope that the list and the items fit.

There is so much to think about in this process, so to add other considerations is difficult, but perhaps just matching up people on our list with items at the store is not the only thing we should be considering this holiday season. 

So many purchases so little time, but when we sit in our living room, wrappings in hand, and a pile of what we are giving to others, let us consider what we have purchased and let us think about the impact our purchases have had on the world around us.

  • How do the gifts I give affect others in the world around me?
  • Do I have the “spoils of the poor” in my living room?
  • What kind of gifts am I giving; ones that have made the world around me better or ones that have stolen from others less fortunate than myself?
  • And what kind of gift am I really giving, if I am giving away the latter?
Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all;
for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God,
but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.

- Luke 21:3-4