Monday, March 26, 2012

Daily Devotion for Monday, March 26, 2012

Today's Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 3:4-11

Key verse from today's reading: 2 Corinthians 3:6, "He has qualified us as ministers of a new covenant, not based on what is written but on the Spirit, because what is written kills, but the Spirit gives life."

How do we know if we are following the Spirit?

It was the spring of 1989 and I was at Canyon Camp attending the Student Spring Gathering.  This consisted of United Methodist college students from across the state. The leaders had set up a fish bowl exercise.  In this, only those sitting in one of the four middle chairs are aloud to speak.  All others sit around the outside.  If you would like to make a point in the discussion, you must tap the shoulder of someone speaking.  When they are through making their point, they must trade places with you, giving you a chance to speak.

The discussion centered around the Heinz dilemma originally written by Lawrence Kohlberg:

"In Europe, a woman was near death from a special kind of cancer. There was one drug that the doctors thought might save her. It was a form of radium that a druggist in the same town had recently discovered. The drug was expensive to make, but the druggist was charging ten times what the drug cost him to make. He paid $200 for the radium and charged $2,000 for a small dose of the drug.

The sick woman's husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money, but he could only get together about $ 1,000 which is half of what it cost. He told the druggist that his wife was dying and asked him to sell it cheaper or let him pay later. But the druggist said: "No, I discovered the drug and I'm going to make money from it." So Heinz got desperate and broke into the man's store to steal the drug-for his wife. Should the husband have done that?" (Kohlberg, 1963).

How does one determine what to do at this point?  The two sides of the fish bowl became those that thought Heinz should steal the drug and those that thought he shouldn't.  I argued on the side that said he should steal the drug.  My logic at the time was that human life was more valuable than property.  One of the opposing arguments was from the Ten Commandments: Thou shalt not steal.

I argued that Jesus himself broke the Law on the Sabbath stating that the Sabbath was created for human beings not the other way around (Mark 2:27).  

"So you just decide which parts of the Bible you will obey and which you won't?"

Sermon of the Beatitudes
James J. J. Tissot
"Yes, of course."

"Well, how do you decide that?"

"I use other scripture, traditions of the church, my experience and my reason."

This is the Wesleyan Quadrilateral and is used by United Methodists to wrestle with tough choices.  Today's scripture invites us to consider how God is continuing to work in our lives.  When I find myself at odds with a tough decision, it may be that scripture could fall on both sides of the argument.  When that happens, we usually have scriptures that we regard more highly.  For instance, the Sermon on the Mount would hold more esteem in my life than the writings of the prophet Obadiah. Both are scripture but Jesus' sermon is more universally applicable than the judgment of Edom.  

The way of discipleship is often the way that asks more of you.  The Holy Spirit leads us in this way and it produces the fruit of the spirit within us as well, namely, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). If we aren't finding these characteristics blossoming in our lives, we may be headed down the wrong path.

How is the Holy Spirit giving you life?

Breath Prayer: Holy Spirit, show me what is true.

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