Today's reading: Ezekiel 21-24
In you, they take bribes to shed blood; you take both advance interest and accrued interest, and make gain of your neighbors by extortion; and you have forgotten me, says the Lord God. Ezekiel 22: 12 NRSV
I guess I think of accrued interest and loan sharks as modern inventions. But we find in Ezekiel that this sort of behavior was rampant in his day. And God was angry about it. God does not want God's people to take advantage of one another because then folks become slaves which is what God saved them from in the first place. God says if you do these things -- make money by extortion -- you have forgotten God. You certainly have not loved your neighbor as yourself!
God is the God who offers freedom. When we become greedy, especially at the expense of other human beings, we forget what God has offered to all of us. Greed becomes our ultimate motivator while money becomes our goal. In greed, we lose sight of the humanity of our neighbors. Instead, each person becomes a pawn or means of gaining wealth.
In order to remember God, we need to recognize other people as loved by God and as, well, people. We need to remember that God wants us to be instruments of justice and mercy, not makers of money. In remembering God, we are full of love rather than greed.
God, help us not to be greedy, to love others and to remember you. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims