August 08, 2011

Ripe for Picking

Amos 8:1-8

“The time is ripe for my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.”
Amos 8:2


A self-important Sunday school teacher hoped to impress his students with his piety. “Do you know why people call me a Christian?” he asked. After a moment of silence, a voice piped up: “Maybe because they don’t know you yet!” That’s the risk of calling yourself a Christian. People watch to see if your actions match your faith.

Israel’s actions didn’t match its faith, so God warned Amos in a vision that Israel would be judged. Usually a basket of fruit was a symbol of life’s blessings: good food, celebration, fulfilled promises, and hope for the future. Who can resist fresh peaches or blueberries?

But in this vision the fruit basket was a warning: Israel was ripe for judgment. They said they believed in God, but their actions didn’t show it. The temple was full of worshipers, but the people were counting the minutes till they could go back to making money—often by cheating others. Israel observed religious holidays, but their minds dreamed of ways to sell less and charge more.

Israel had forgotten that they were to reflect God’s compassion and care for others. We need to remember that too. We are saved in order to do good, to follow Jesus’ example of showing love and compassion everywhere.

How will you show evidence of your faith today?

Lord, it is easy for us to profess our faith in you, but then also to ignore people in need around us. Forgive our hypocrisy, and help us to show the grace you have shown us. Amen.

About the author — Rob Toornstra

Rob Toornstra has served as pastor of Sunnyslope Christian Reformed Church in Salem, Oregon, since 2006. When not busy with pastoral duties, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Amy, and their three children.

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