Archive for May 22nd, 2008

Working in the Margins

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

Today’s scripture: Luke 8:1-3 (ESV-text and audio) (KJV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Mark Shoup):

Its funny how you can re-read a well known passage, or the narrative between two well know Bible stories and realize something that you never noticed before. This short passage of scripture had one of those “hidden messages” in it for me.

I hadn’t ever noticed that the women who were traveling with Jesus and the Apostles were providing for the entourage through their own resources. I’m pretty sure that’s kind of a big deal for that era. Not only would it have been unusual for a woman to have those resources of her own to share, but it was equally unlikely that any man of that time would place himself in a position of dependence on a woman like that.

It sounds sexist by today’s standards, but in that time, a woman’s options were pretty much limited to depending on her husband or other male relative, or engaging in the world’s oldest profession. So here was an unusual reversal of the “normal” gender roles. (Sound like any other group of people you might know?)

In fact, the whole situation sounds to me a lot like Galatians 3:28: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”

How interesting that 2,000 years ago, long before Susan B. Anthony or Gloria Steinem, Jesus had apparently embraced a dynamic that even today we can’t quite get right much of the time. He saw the value of these women and relied on them to make his ministry possible.

Now I want to challenge you. Marginalized people still exist in our society even now. They are the non-English speaking man working two jobs to support his family in El Salvador. They are the disheveled lady in the homeless shelter. They are the guy who has a learning disability and can’t keep a job. It is the woman who is tormented by addiction. It might even be the man sitting in the next row at church. Jesus lifted these people up. He helped them, and He even made them part of His ministry. How can I lift them up?

Prayer for the day: God, help me to see the value You see in those people we’d normally leave on the margins.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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