The last day of the month comes as a relief to many of us as the day the bank balance changes colour from red to black and we can start the process of budgeting for another month. I realise there are many people who do not get a monthly salary and have to live from job to job or week to week – I have myself learned to look forward to Wednesdays when Sam’s disability benefit is deposited in his account – but still the concept of reward, the pleasure and hope it brings, is a strong one: it’s pay day! 🙂
My next thought is ‘pay back’ – a term I got from Hollywood I think, where it is used to gleefully announce the longed-for sweet revenge taken on an enemy, the punishment inflicted on a villain as they get their ‘just deserts’. Revenge is a powerful theme in this world that longs for justice but hasn’t learned the power of grace and cannot comprehend the irrefutable illogic of Jesus’ teaching ‘love your enemies’. Rather than ‘heaping coals upon their head’ when evil is repaid with good, as Scripture mysteriously calls the burning, shameful conscience – or perhaps that’s the heat of coming judgment when it’s left to God (Proverbs 25v22 & Romans 12v20) – it’s usually more as someone quipped the other day, “Turn the other cheek and while they are not looking pinch their wallet!”
Either way, being rewarded positively at the end of a job or month or receiving the punishment you have earned, is all about reaping what you have sown… yes it is the day of reckoning, a shadow of the Day of Reckoning to come. Isaiah says it twice, that as the Lord comes ‘His reward is with Him and His recompense accompanies Him’ Isaiah 40v10 & 62v11: the God of justice knows exactly what is truly deserved, which is why we have to leave all judgment to Him. And so today, 30th September, along with Martin’s salary in the bank, we’re reaping some significant fruit in our own journey as we reckon up our accounts and balance the books.
Yes, it’s a house – a house for Sam, the house he wanted when he first saw it for sale in 2010 – and we get the keys today. At that time we could not imagine how this could happen, how we could afford it – just as I could not see him ever moving out to live independently: we all felt trapped. Jessa’s coming was the catalyst for all of us to make the necessary changes and choices and the provision of the flat they’re in as a temporary solution along with the phone call from the lady who owned 8c opened up the way. If we had not chosen to invest, to go with it, to take the risk, we wouldn’t be ordering furniture and committing to another mortgage now. But Sam would not be looking forward to having his own home, with kittens and space and some normality either.
As well as turning the key in this new ERA lock this afternoon, I’ll be in town at H Samuel – obviously our favourite family jeweller – as Sam’s wedding band arrives in store. It seems appropriate that with 10 days to go til 10.10, it is also the feast of Jewish New Year over these few days. Rosh Hashanah started on Wednesday evening and lasts 2 days, being the equivalent of the 1st and 2nd of the Hebrew month Tishrei – as I just found out on-line…
‘The holiday which translates to “head of the year” is both the Jewish New Year and days of repentance. It may seem unusual, but the New Year is actually not the first month in the Hebrew calendar, rather the first two days in the seventh month, known as Tishrei. Rosh Hashanah takes place ten days before Yom Kippur, and many use this as a time of reflection known as the ten days of penitence, or aseret yamei teshuva. In that ten day period, many will apologize to those they have wronged and hope to find forgiveness. This assures when Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement, comes ten days later, the person will not be left out of the Book of Life, where names of those destined for Heaven are written’.
This is a different type of reckoning, the self-examination that leads to a righteous life. Our 10 days to the 10th is parallel with 10 days to Yom Kippur – this year it’s on Saturday 8th, Martin’s birthday: I didn’t know that ’til just now. As many pro-Israel Christians say (should that not be all of us? not political Zionists but those praying for the root nation of our faith?) the Hebrew calendar is actually God’s calendar… Amazingly this year of 5772 just starting has a special significance for us as well because the meaning of the numbers when turned into letters is AWNAH, ‘to dwell together, duty of marriage, sexual co-habitation’. This certainly seems to tie in with the plans that have been made, though they are far-fetched, stretching, tested and doubted along the way!
So here we are at the head of the year of marriage with a new house for our son and Jess, a sign of a new era for a new generation. It has cost us a lot to make this happen and will cost us more in months to come, but ‘Those too lazy to plough in the right season will have no food at harvest time’ Proverbs 20v4. We have done what seemed right and that is all we can do – then wait for the money/faith/prayer seed to grow, knowing it is ‘God who gives the growth’ 1 Corinthians 3v6.
Galatians 6 below has always been a favourite Scripture that has kept me on track for years in many aspects of working and waiting for the timing of the Lord of the Harvest. Today it’s pay day: let’s just call it first-fruits, offered back to Him, and continue to fight the battle at the gate.
‘What a man sows that he shall also reap. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.’ Galatians 6v7-9