Monday, February 1, 2010

Ethics of the Kingdom

A mother asks Jesus for a request; "Make room for my sons on your right and on your left when the reign of your kingdom comes." Not knowing what she was asking of him, Jesus must have seen this as a perfect time to teach about the Ethics of His Kingdom.

Speaking of kings and rulers, Jesus uses an example of those in position of power and those standing in servitude. He says this; "You know that the rulers of this world lord it over their people; and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different...." Then he tells them that this kind of different is not just a little variation of the normal, but quite the opposite of "how things work here."

Sometimes I wish that God would give us a pep talk each day to help us remember that living for this kind of King requires a different set of ethics.

So here are a couple of Kingdom Ethics I feel we forget about (or at least I do) most days. This would be the pep talk I envision Jesus giving me each day:

-"You know that in this world money has a supreme reign and supreme grip on humanity, but among you it will be quite different. Your money is not yours, it never was. The earth and everything in it is mine. These are gifts I have given to you, but demand that you take them with unclenched fists. Be about joyful generosity. Remember that you serve me and not money, you can not serve both, choose."

-"You know that in this world people store up in their vats all kinds of materials for the future in order to guarantee safety, but among you it will be quite different. Some will give all they have for My cause. Some will give their only car away to another who needs it more. Some will sell their house in order to build My house. Some will choose a life that does not grant them the security of old age pension, for Me. Again, whom do you serve? If it is Me, this is a life long call.

-"You know that in this world extreme poverty and those living in it are generally ignored, but among you it will be quite different. You are not to care only for your affairs, but also be interested in the affairs of your neighbour. Pay close attention to the least in this world, and be sure to offer clothing to those who are naked, drink to those who thirst, food for those who hunger, dignity to those without any. For whatever you do to the least of these, you have done to Me."

-"You know that in this world the lusts of the flesh take precedence over sound judgement and truth, but among you it will be quite different. There is never a temptation that you can not flee from. The flesh is weak, but My Spirit is willing. What you do with your body, and what you do with anther's body is important, so be careful. I have created human beings beautiful but remember that they are also my children. Respect My creation."

-"You know that in this world tolerance promises itself as the highest form of flattery, but among you it will be quite different. You are speakers and livers of truth. You are to fear Me, not man. If you believe in Me, you also are to believe My words. Sometimes what I teach will sound like pure foolishness to those around you. Speak it and live it anyway. I alone have the words of life."

-"You know that in this world many are obsessed with clothes and appearance, but among you it will be quite different. You are to live today and not worry about tomorrow. You are to remember that the body and the garments you adorn it with are not eternal. Spend you money and time on things of eternal worth. You are to address the state of your heart with the same fervor the world addresses the state of their wardrobe and appearance. I am the Lord your God, I will give you all that you need if you seek Me first this day."

-"You know that in this world those who follow Me will be criticized, looked down upon, and persecuted, but among you it will be quite different. Do not repay evil for evil. Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you. I will be with you through all of this."

"Go, therefore into the world, and proclaim a new Ethic for living."

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