*Yearly Reading: Exodus 20-24
"If you take your neighbor's cloak in pawn, you shall restore it before the sun goes down; for it may be your neighbor's only clothing to use as a cover; in what else shall that person sleep? And if your neighbor cries out to me, I will listen, for I am compassionate." Exodus 22: 26-27 NRSV
I admit that I have never been into a pawn shop. However, I see them as mainly traps for people who are in desperate need of easy cash; how often is the individual able to buy back their item? I tend to place them in the same class as the stores which cash pay checks and tax refunds. I see them as places where the poor are taken advantage of by unscrupulous persons.
In this passage, God is not saying "Thou shall have no pawn shops." But God is saying that to keep someone's belongings from them when that is all they have is doing ill to your neighbor. God hears the cry of those who have been taken advantage of and has mercy on them. God is compassionate.
God wants us to pay attention when we are doing everyday business transactions. We should be asking ourselves: Am I taking advantage of this other person? Does my business transactions affect someone who has no other options? Who is affected when I make a business decision? These are not easy questions to ask or to answer.
God is compassionate. And I think God wants us to be compassionate as well.
God, you are the God of compassion and mercy. You hear the cries of the poor and disadvantaged. Help us to be compassionate and merciful as well, asking ourselves the hard questions. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims
*Sorry this devotional is so late today!- Amelia