For as long as I have been a student of the Bible, one of the most soul searching verses for me has been Amos 3:2 “You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your sins.”
Amos was preaching to the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah when he uttered these words. These two kingdoms were special! God called them into existence for a purpose, and they had woefully failed to produce the results He intended. To whom much is given, much is required. I wonder: do we talk about this enough?
One reason that verse has haunted me is that many of us—myself included—-are like Israel. We’re blessed, protected, and (when compared to the other citizens of this world) quite affluent. God has blessed most of us with good health, a prosperous culture and a very secure land in which to live. It is as if He “chose to bless us” especially—-and yet we have not considered the responsibilities that go with great blessings.
I can never match, in my good deeds or donations, what God has given to me. Like the ancient Hebrews, I do feel that God’s hand and His blessings have been upon me and my brethren more than others. But I do believe that God expects more from those of us who have been given more. I am convinced that He holds the ones He blesses with, for example, greater intellect (I am not one of these) or profound gifts and talents with higher expectations! And why shouldn’t He?
So in light of His goodness, mercy, grace and gifts, why would I ever expect God to not expect a more robust response of obedience and gratitude from me and how I live my life than one that was not so blessed? Why do I choose to compare my “goodness” with the worst possible example rather than with the highest example?
Now I don’t think that God is up in heaven, looking down and waiting for a chance to upset my apple cart, and I am certain that Christ has already taken the full punishment for my sins, yet there is also a lingering realization that I am obliged to be a better man because He has chosen not only to redeem and rescue me from what I deserve, but has provided a home, a family, a community that is far better than I deserve.
I do not serve the King of Kings or give my tithe to the church, to receive God’s blessing. I serve Him and give my gifts to Him because I have already been blessed indeed.
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