PASSAGE: "Give liberally and be ungrudging when you do so, for on this account the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I therefore command you, 'Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land'" (Deuteronomy 15:10-11).
QUESTION: I have a labor of love that at times causes so much stress because it is so demanding of my time away from my family.
COMMENT: Chapter 15 of Deuteronomy begins with this startling sentence: "Every seventh year you shall grant a remission of debts." (I can't help wondering how many of those who insist on a literal reading of the Bible in terms of other social issues are strictly adherent to this one simple sentence in their own lives.) The rest of the chapter recognizes that this will be a challenging rule to implement and offers some helpful suggestions.
Again and again throughout the Bible—and, indeed, in other religious beliefs as well—there is a recognition of the spiritual power of the number seven. It seems to be universally true that the process of being the Christ—of expressing our infinite spiritual Power in this limited human experience—involves a seven-step rhythm of action and release. God rests on the seventh day of creation. Exodus 23:10-11 stipulates that farm land is to lie fallow every seventh year. And here debts are to be released every seven years. Instead of the legalistic obligation of debt, this passage suggests a heart-centered, Spirit-centered liberality of giving freely and lovingly, without expectation of return. This essentially allows us to relax our human concerns and focus on amounts and measurements and allows God to express in the energy of release that concludes each seven-part rhythm. There will always be human needs to be met while we're here in mortal form—"there will never cease to be some in need on the earth"—but it's important that we also take the time to relax, be still, allow God to flow through us. It's in the creative energy of the seventh day that we bring the kingdom into expression.