Understandably enough, Joshua has deepest respect for Moses, and is in fact protective of Moses’ prerogatives. His reaction runs this way. If some of the spirit that guided Moses is to be distributed to a group of elders, so they can assist him in ministering to the people, and two men were not present during when the spirit was poured out, too bad. Moses sees it differently. If God wants to pour out the spirit on them as well, excellent. In fact, wouldn’t it be great if everyone were more attuned to God’s will, filled with the spirit, able to exercise inspired judgement, given the wisdom to resolve conflicts? Where do your proclivities lie? Controlling who is doing good, keeping things managed, or letting God pour out the spirit in unexpected ways?
Minimum Wage Issues
James has some harsh words, not unlike the Old Testament prophets of the 8th and 7th centuries. Cheating folks out of a living wage is not just a political issue, it is a moral, spiritual, and religious issue. Leaving God and religious insight out of the picture is a sure path to perdition. James also sees clearly how being surrounded by wealth can block folks ability to even see the very little ones mentioned in the Gospel, to see their need, and to see how some of that wealth rightly should be feeding and clothing those little ones.
Do I Have Your Attention Now?
Hyperbole was a powerful tool in Jesus’ preaching. The conclusion of today’s Gospel is not intended to encourage self-mutilation. It’s to shake us up. Translating his analogy into 21st century terms, would it be wise to say of a cancerous tumor “Oh, it’s OK, everyone has a few.”? Of course not! Ok then, identify the tumor (the sin), use some chemo-therapy (prayer, fasting, discipline, good deeds) to reduce its size, and then cut it out. This Go