By: Staci Stallings
The reading from the Old Testament this weekend featured Moses and his 72 elect who received the Holy Spirit. The only problem was two of those elect leaders were back at camp. When the others who were with Moses found out these two had also received the Holy Spirit, as you can probably imagine, there was trouble. “They weren’t where they were supposed to be. They weren’t with us. They weren’t here. How could God do that if they weren’t here? Doesn’t He know they weren’t here? Doesn’t He care that they weren’t following Moses to be where they were supposed to be?”
Funny how we, like the Israelites, are so quick to judge. We are so quick to see why someone got something we think they shouldn’t have, and we rail against God for giving them something we don’t think they deserve.
However, over and over again in the Bible, man’s ways are pushed aside for God’s ways. Like in the vineyard when the Master pays everyone the same amount although some worked a full day and others only part of a day. We are told in essence, “It’s God’s money, He can do with it as He chooses.” Or better yet, “It’s God’s Grace, He can do with it as He chooses.”
The rest of the homily was good, but the line this weekend that smacked me upside the head was simply this: “Let God be God.” If He chooses to pour His Spirit out on someone you don’t think is worthy, let God be God. He doesn’t have to bow to your standards. He doesn’t have to give a test or make anyone earn anything. It’s HIS Spirit. He can give it as He sees fit. The incredibly simple fact is: you don’t KNOW why someone else wasn’t there. Maybe the two leaders were tending to a sick or dying man and couldn’t make the meeting. Maybe they were detained by a God-Appointment of some other kind. God’s saying, “You don’t know everything so quit acting like you do.”
But oh, do we fight against this! “It’s not fair.” “I didn’t even get a thank you, and look what they got.” “Did you hear that such-and-such got that promotion. They didn’t deserve that…”
As true as that sad fact of our arguing is, we fight even harder when it’s about spiritual matters. “Look at how she’s dressed. She doesn’t need to be coming to church like that.” “How much did they give? I bet it wasn’t as much as us.” “Why did she get chosen to lead that committee? She’s only been in the church for six months.” “They want to baptize that baby? Well, they only come to church once in a blue moon.”
Oh, we can be so petty metting out God’s Grace on others. Petty. Petty. Petty. A dribble here. A drop there… as if it’s even ours to give.
The truth is we are the ones who think they should have to earn it. God never said that. God gives His Grace and His Spirit freely… as HE chooses. And it’s a good thing He does because honestly, sometimes I’m the one back at camp. I know I should have gone to the meeting on the mountain, but for some reason, I didn’t (and maybe the reason I didn’t had everything to do with me being exactly where I really WAS supposed to be in God’s Plan!). The truth is, we’ve all been the ones back at camp at one time or another. This is not about being those 70. It’s about being one of those two!
It’s not bad news that God is free to give His Spirit to anyone He chooses. It’s good news because it means He can give it to us!
Let God be God. Let Him bless who He wishes to bless, and you bless them too. (This gets MUCH easier when you finally realize how very generous our God is–and when you finally realize just how generous He’s been with you!) Be HAPPY that God is a generous God even with those who don’t deserve it. That’s GREAT news when you think about it!
We are all sinners and have all fallen short of the glory of God. That means none of us deserves it.
Thank God He doesn’t hold that against us! So why are we so intent on holding it against others?
Let God be God!