You may have heard the term "social justice" being tossed around these days from professors and politicians. Although it has it's roots in ancient times, the modern definition is as follows:
Social justice is based on the concepts of human rights and equality and involves a greater degree of economic egalitarianism through progressive taxation, income redistribution, or even property redistribution.
Websters online defines it as: the distribution of advantages and disadvantages within a society.
In other words, take from the "haves" and give to the "have nots" to make everything fair.
So, when I came across this scripture in Mark, it stopped me cold. Whatever your political leaning, it is apparent from this verse that Jesus plainly did not believe in social justice in the spiritual realm! In fact, not only did he NOT advocate taking from those spiritually rich and giving to the poor, but He clearly advocated in the following verse to take from the spiritually poor and give even the small bit they have to the spiritually rich!
For to him who has will more be given; and from him who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away by force. Mark 4:25
Wow! That sounds pretty harsh, doesn't it? And so contrary to what we hear in our culture. But look at Mark 4:24 again. There's an obvious cause and effect balance going on. Jesus says that the amount of time and effort you put into studying the truth (God's Word, in this case, because in context, He is talking about the truth of the Kingdom of God) is the amount of virtue and knowledge you will receive in return. That's a promise from God you can count on!
(Similar to the amount of work you put in to get an education and hold down a job and save your money is commensurate with the amount of wealth you will have! What a concept. But, I digress)
This concept of sowing and reaping runs through the entire Scripture. Not one man or woman in the Bible who possessed Spiritual gifts and did great things for God, achieved what they did without extreme sacrifice and dedication. Not Abraham, Moses, Noah, David, the prophets, John the Baptist, the apostles... etc...
What if they did all the work, the study, the long hours in prayer and then God gave their spiritual gifts to another person who hadn't done a thing? What if Noah had spent those 100 years building the Ark but then never got to go on it? What if John the Baptist had spend the first 30 years of his life in the desert eating locusts and honey but then the blessing of being able to introduce the Messiah to the world was given to another who had been sitting around not even thinking about God. What is just about that?
So, I'd like to make two points here:
- God is a God of Justice. Yes, He's a God of grace and that grace covers our sins when we repent and turn His way. But He doesn't give us Spiritual blessings (understanding, knowledge, power, discernment, virtue, love, peace..etc) unless we work for it. The Kingdom of God is not a Socialist Kingdom.
- If you are feeling flat Spiritually, ask yourself how diligently, how often, and how enthusiastically do you study God's Word? How much time do you spend at the feet of Christ in adoration and worship?
I'm reminded of one of my favorite Psalms, Psalm 1
Blessed happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly, following their advice, their plans and purposes, nor stands, submissive and inactive, in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down to relax where the scornful and the mockers gather.
But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law: the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God, he habitually meditates, ponders, and studies by day and by night.
And he shall be like a tree firmly planted and tended by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper!