Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sun. May 9, 2010 (Kevin Hiebert)

Jumping off from Henry Neufeld’s message last week that contrasted the world’s view of reciprocal love with God’s command to love without expectation of return, Kevin Hiebert used John 14:27 to flesh out the nature of God’s love in our business dealings with each other. Jesus does not give as the world gives, but instead gives unstintingly without regard for colour, class, creed or wealth. Kevin used that principle to examine the human construct of interest, something God permitted in certain circumstances, but also proscribed in others as harmful to the poor. This was no anti-wealth message - Kevin insisted wealth is an asset that the wealthy, as good stewards, are expected to lend for the benefit of the poor. Kevin used several OT references to interest to show both its beneficial and harmful nature, and also examined the keeping of security or pledges as collateral for loans, noting that God expected lenders to assume a certain measure of trust in creditors who lacked security. Kevin contrasted parallels of OT pledges of garments with today’s pledges of homes against the complex financial instruments that even lenders didn’t understand. Kevin then suggested that Christian lenders consider a radical revisioning of interest to make affordability a higher principle in living out God’s law. Though usury and taking interest in advance is prohibited by God and law, our society allows both from credit card companies and payday loan companies, and corruption is legalized when powerful corporations capture the interest of the state and make it their own, as US financial institutions did with “bailout” moneys. Corporate and national corruption are inevitable ends of this failure, and Kevin pointed out how damaging corruption becomes not only to the aims and interests of their people, but to the wealth of the corrupt nation as a whole. Kevin noted how many the calls for anti–corruption measures, and how frequently they are bypassed, and concluded that a careful rereading of John 14 in all our business dealings can only benefit ourselves and the world. A lively time of exchange after the message fleshed out additional points of contention between God’s law and our own greed. [AP] Listen to the sermon audio MP3 recording from Sunday, May 9th, 2010 using your browser's preferred media player.



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