The loss of fertility in the land is seen, by the Prophet Joel, as a stark reminder to the people of God’s priorities:

Weep like a young virgin dressed in black,  mourning the loss of her fiancé. Without grain and grapes, worship has been brought to a standstill  in the Sanctuary of God. The priests are at a loss. God’s ministers don’t know what to do. The fields are sterile. The very ground grieves. The wheat fields are lifeless, vineyards dried up, olive oil gone. Joel 1:8-10 (The Message)

Distancing your spiritual life from the material world holds a real danger. Neglecting the spiritual life and focusing only on the material world does too. Joel sees the need for people of faith to mourn the disaster that has struck the land. The minister’s of religion need the grape for their wine and grain for their bread but are at a loss. Why? because they have distanced the activity of God in providing blessing for them from the big picture of the world around them. As spiritual people we too can be narrow in our understanding of the responsibilities we hold for the world around us. If there is a famine in our land, whether that is a famine of food or of the word of God, we too can be at a loss. Unless we care deeply and act justly then we can not be said to be following God’s priorities. Only if the people of faith connect their faith to the big picture in the world, and the world connect’s its life to the big picture of God will we see spiritual and material well-being in the communities, nations, and world in which we live.

God, as I look at the big picture of the world around me, even if I feel uncomfortable with what I see, help my life to be a positive contribution to the spiritual and material well-being of others. Amen.

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