Week 32 Monday


Today’s scripture selection: Leviticus 25-27

Key verses: Leviticus 25:11-12

It was called the year of Jubilee.

A great festival, lasting the entire year, held every fifty years – it was a sort of Sabbath for the entire nation.

According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, during this year

“The land was to be fallow, and the Israelites were only permitted to gather the spontaneous produce of the fields.  All landed property during that year reverted to its original owner, and all who were slaves were set free, and all debts were remitted.  The return of the jubilee year was proclaimed by a blast of trumpets which sounded throughout the land.”

What a great idea.  Can you imagine the people’s excitement as the horns sounded?  Freedom from debt; the restoration of family property; freedom from slavery; a restful celebration while gleaning the food God provided – it sounds wonderful to me.

Our world, in contrast, never takes a break.  It’s “dog eat dog” year after year after year.  And there is rarely such an example of total dependence on God.  For us – it’s what you earn – you keep – that is, if you can keep someone from taking it from you.

I know the world is a different place from the one the ancient Israelites inhabited.  I know the idea of taking a year off for Jubilee isn’t practical.

But what if we somehow took smaller Jubilees of our own?  What if we regularly; periodically took a break – and simply trusted God to provide.  It would make for an interesting lifestyle, to say the least.

So, I challenge you.

Find a way to take some Sabbath time off.  Find a way to think about what you “own” in a different way.  Acknowledge, to yourself and to others, that you are merely a grateful steward (manager) of what really belongs to God.

It may change your perspective on who you are and what it is you are to spend your time doing.  It may lower your stress significantly.  It may provide a way for you to commune with God in a new way.

What a cause for celebration – and jubilee.

Prayer: Lord, help me to keep my perspective on things and on you.  Help me to celebrate, year in and year out, my life in your kingdom.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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