fbpx

Share This

Share on facebook
Share on email

Practicaly Holy Blog

Helping people help others in the name of Jesus Christ

Mutual respect

By, Isam Itson III

Ephesians 5:21: Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

In addition to practicing the expression of gratitude, as followers of Jesus Christ we have to practice mutual submission if we are going to be filled with the Holy Spirit and bring glory to God.

The Covid 19 pandemic has added a new category to society. The essential worker. Workers whose physical presence at the job site is critical for society to function. We have also learned that many of these essential positions have relatively lower rates of pay and are typically filled by people with lower social status. One of these categories is food distribution. What would we do without field laborers, food processors, warehouse workers, truck drivers, and retail grocery workers? We have learned that we are absolutely dependent upon people whom we are tempted to take for granted.

We always need other people. The ability to pay for a service does not make us less reliant on being served. When someone accepts responsibility for meeting our needs they are honoring God’s role as our provider. They are imitating God. Our ability to pay them does not negate our inability to meet our need all by ourself. The ability to pay does not make us independent. If we have the money but no service providers or caregivers, we are still helpless and desperate. Our lives depend upon the willingness of others to faithfully and gratefully honor our need for them and their need for us. 

This is what makes honoring God so difficult for people who judge themselves and others by their relative wealth, poverty, influence, or power. It is too easy for them to forget their essential dependence and necessary interdependence. Our vulnerability as humans is not shameful, it is essential. It encourages us to take care of each other and do the best we can for ourselves. Because at any moment we can be the person in desperate need of help.

God addressed this fact most fully in the laws regarding sabbath and its ultimate expression in the year of Jubilee, in what we call the Law of Moses. Keeping the sabbath is the fourth law within the Ten Commandments. The law of  sabbath was that every resident of the land of Israel took every seventh day off, to remember God’s supreme position as their creator and attentive ruler. 

Even the servants, foreign laborers, and slaves had the day off. The sabbath day honors the fact that everyone in the land exists under God’s covering. God is the source, provider, and protector of their lives. He is their father, their god, and their king. Everyone’s life rests safely in the hands of God. God enables them to fulfill his purpose for their existence. They need to work. But God is their ultimate provider.

Additionally, every annual  harvest was marked by days of consecration and special sabbaths. The Law of Moses in the Hebrew scriptures calls these “feast days”. The barley and wheat harvests marked days of remembering and thanking God for their miraculous deliverance from slavery in Egypt. If you have seen the films “The Ten Commandments” or “The Prince of Egypt” you are familiar with the story. The orchard, and vineyard harvests were celebrated every year with special days of remembering God’s miracles that protected them and provided for them while they travelled from Egypt through the desert wilderness for forty years until God led them into the land of Israel. The crops that kept them alive, fed their beasts of burden, provided extra income at the marketplace, and gave them the strength to work the land, were all recognized as gifts from God. 

Every seven years the land was given a sabbath. The Israelites were instructed by God to not plant their fields. Whatever wheat or barley sprouted on its own was adequate for themselves and their livestock. But there was not going to be any grain available to trade or sell at market. Again, they were to trust that what God provided was enough to sustain their lives. In addition all monetary debts were cancelled or forgiven. And every seventh sabbath year (that is a Bible way of saying every 49 years) was designated a Jubilee.

The Jubilee took the most trust in God to honor. In addition to eating from what the land produced on its own, and forgiving any outstanding loans, the Jubilee also required that people who had sold the use of their family plot of land to others had to have their land returned to them. So if you fell on hard times you would not be perpetually dispossessed of your family land. If you were a member of one of the tribes of Israel you were always secure within the social fabric. 

In a rural agricultural society like ancient Israel this was most beneficial because anyone could fall on hard times any given year. Illness, death, drought, storm, plague, infestation, foreign invaders, or simple mismanagement could all spell disaster for a family or a tribal province within the nation at any moment. The sabbath years and the Jubilees were meant to honor everyones place within the society. Every family necessarily contributed to and relied upon the contribution of others for their mutual well being. Their trust in God and each other was the source of their security. Not their ability to amass wealth, power, and influence.

The celebration of the weekly sabbaths, the annual feasts, the sabbath years, and the Jubilee, were all meant to strengthen and enrich their ties with God and each other. God was the core of their security, status, and identity as families and as a nation. Not their financial wealth, political alliances, or the strength of their military. 

For the ancient Israelites the observance of the sabbath laws were disciplines that forged habits of faithfulness and gratitude in relationship to God and to each other on a personal, communal, and national scale. For followers of Jesus Christ, our essential dependence upon God and our necessary interdependence in relationship to each other is honored through our mutual submission to one another out of reverence for Jesus Christ no matter our national, ethnic, or cultural identity. Or our political affiliation.

This is how we act on our faith in Jesus Christ in relationship to each other as members of the body of Christ. Within the church, the body of Christ, we honor each other as fellow co-rulers with God. We consider each other as we stay focused on moving forward with God together. I honor the value that God adds to me through you. You honor the value that God adds to you through me. And we work together honoring God’s love for others in our surrounding communities. We do this out of reverence for Jesus Christ as our savior and king.

When I am helping you do what God has called you to do for the benefit of others, I follow your lead. When you are helping me do what God has called me to do for the benefit of others, you follow my lead. We are made to work together. God created us to serve and be served by each other as we honor God’s love, power, and faithfulness in the world around us.

Without this depth of mutual submission, honor, service, and consideration of one another as followers of Jesus Christ in our homes, churches, communities, and workplaces, our proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is meaningless and our lives have little to do with the Spirit of God. We are all essential to each other.

Isam Itson

Practically Holy is a mentoring community dedicated to empowering people to help each other as a practical and sustainable expression of their faith in Jesus Christ. That’s what Practically Holy is all about. Pursuing our common humanity in Jesus Christ by honoring our God-given purpose and boundaries, as we follow Jesus Christ together, and help others do the same, as dedicated members of our communities, from generation to generation.

 Practiallyholy.com

Practically Holy | Blog

No justice, no peace

by, Isam Itson III Matthew 23:23 – “justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others”. Once our relationship

Read More »

God help us

by, Isam Itson III Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the

Read More »

Ripe fruit

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 21: 43-44 – “Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to

Read More »

Ask Jesus

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 17:24-27 – When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does

Read More »

Be righteous

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 15:17-20 – “Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? 18

Read More »

Enough to start

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 14:14-18 –When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Read More »

Yield

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 13:23  –  “As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word (of the

Read More »

Mercy

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 12:1-8 – At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began

Read More »

As we go

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 10:14 – “And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your

Read More »

An open heart

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 9:10-13 – And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were

Read More »

Faith in action

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 8:5-10 – When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, 6 “Lord, my servant

Read More »

God is our dad

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 6:9 – Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Matthew 6:30-33 – if God so

Read More »

Let’s go

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 4:18-20 – While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew

Read More »

Trial by fire

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 4:1-4 – Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2

Read More »

Active patience

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 3:11 – “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I,

Read More »

Right this way

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 2:1,2 – Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise

Read More »

Finally

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 1:16 and 17 “…and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is

Read More »

All together now

By, Isam Itson III Ephesians 5:21 – Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Considering our relationships as members of our local churches,

Read More »

Rich and poor

By, Isam Itson III Ephesians 6:5-9 – Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6 not

Read More »

Married life

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 19:4-6 – “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and

Read More »

Overcoming evil

By, Isam Itson III How do we respond to the self righteousness, injustice, and immorality of our governing authorities, political opponents, and social power brokers?

Read More »

Stand strong

By, Isam Itson III How do we respond to the self righteous agendas of the powers that be in our societies? How do we deal

Read More »

Mutual respect

By, Isam Itson III Ephesians 5:21: Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. In addition to practicing the expression of gratitude, as followers

Read More »

Thank God

By, Isam Itson III People have been drinking alcohol as a way of coping with stress and loss for a long time. When we get

Read More »

Imitate God

By, Isam Itson III Ephesians 5:1-2. – Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave

Read More »

Stop lying

By, Isam Itson III Ephesians 4:25 – Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we

Read More »

Game day

By, Isam Itson III Proverbs 16:25 – “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”

Read More »

Showing up

By, Isam Itson III Ephesians 4:11-13, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the

Read More »

One goal

By, Isam Itson III Sometimes people ask me, “Why do I need to join a church to make a difference?”  Because a group of people

Read More »

Changing hearts

By, Isam Itson III Recently I was listening to a lecture given by the British theologian, John Barclay. He told the story of a poor,

Read More »

What do we do?

By, Isam Itson III The greatest among you shall be your servant. – Matthew 23:11 “What can I do to make a difference and honor

Read More »

Love remains

By, Isam Itson III Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  8 Love never ends. – 1 Corinthians 13:7-8

Read More »

Forgiveness

By, Isam Itson III Love keeps no record of wrongs. One of the most difficult things that I deal with as a follower of Jesus

Read More »

Mindful

By, Isam Itson III Love is not easily angered – 1 Corinthians 13:5 Every time I have lashed out in anger verbally or physically, I

Read More »

Considerate

By, Isam Itson III Love does not insist on its own way, – 1 Corinthians 13:5 Being considerate acknowledges our awareness that for us to

Read More »

Polite

By, Isam Itson III Love is not rude, – 1 Corinthians 13:5 When the author of the text says that love is not rude, he

Read More »

Respect

By, Isam Itson III Love is not arrogant. A loving person sees others being just as worthy of honor and regard as themselves. They give

Read More »

Attentive

By, Isam Itson III Love conveys an attitude of value expressed in acts of respect and consideration for the needs and concerns of others. Love

Read More »

Generosity

By, Isam Itson III I remember watching one of my friends as she gave her two young sons a snack to share. She told her

Read More »

Kindness

By, Isam Itson III Love is Kind. My wife, Lori, is my superhero. Her example of God fearing love for others has taught me so

Read More »

Patience

By, Isam Itson III Love is an attitude of value expressed in purposeful and voluntary acts of respect and consideration for the needs and concerns

Read More »

Love is…

By, Isam Itson III Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. – Matthew

Read More »

Stay True

By, Isam Itson III If you have ever felt trapped in your job or responsibilities keep reading. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the

Read More »

Stay Focused

By, Isam Itson III One aspect of embracing our cross in the name of Jesus is surrendering our self interest in obedience to God for

Read More »

Start Over

By, Isam Itson III Over the years I have met many refugees. People who immigrated to new countries fleeing disaster, war, or terror in their

Read More »

Eat What They Eat

By, Isam Itson III Philippians 2:5-7  “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form

Read More »

Replacing Pride

By, Isam Itson III Pride goes before destruction,  and a haughty spirit before a fall.  19  It is better to be of a lowly spirit

Read More »

God Help Me

By, Isam Itson III God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  2  Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives

Read More »

Growing Pains

By, Joe Worsham I read  Psalm 8, Psalm 88 and Psalm 23 in rapid succession and I think this is a really powerful illustration of

Read More »

Oh, God?!…

By, Isam Itson III “They devoted themselves to prayer.” Acts 2:42 “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Read More »

Get another chair

By, Isam Itson III “They also devoted themselves to the breaking of bread.”  – from Acts 2:42. I was at the grocery store during the

Read More »

That’s good

By, Isam Itson III “And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:12. I love learning about creative people at the top of their field.

Read More »

Well, Jesus said…

By, Isam Itson III “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching,” Acts 2:42. In her last years before her death my 105 year old granny

Read More »

Need a light?

By, Isam Itson III In dark times God not only comforts us with his loving presence, he also encourages us with his light, which is

Read More »

Family matters

By Isam Itson III. In Luke’s gospel, Jesus called his disciples to live as members of the Kingdom of God. He called them to obey

Read More »

Passing the Baton

By, Isam Itson III Genesis 1:28 – “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it,…  ” God purposed that other people carry

Read More »

Hotel Elegante

Unable to read published form data

Unable to read published form data

Update Post

Syntax error, missing attribute: #user_meta (Expected: key)