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The Gospel From Patmos
Everyday Insights For Living
From The Last Book Of The Bible
Daily Devotional
Thursday, August 25, 2016

And he [the land beast] controls everyone; the small and the great, the rich and the poor, the free and the slave; so that he might place a mark upon their right hands or upon their foreheads, so that no one might be able to buy or sell except the one who has the mark, the name of the beast or the number of his name. Rev 13:16-17.



The time will come when a worldwide confederacy of religion and state will seek to impose its will on true believers. At that time those who refuse to go along with the system will not be allowed to buy or sell. But what if that time is nearer than we think? What if this text provides a clue to how we should choose to live all of the time? What if our buying and selling gives tacit approval to a system that coerces and harms people? Are there times when choosing to buy and sell is like giving allegiance to the mark of the beast? Consider the following.

The beatings are routine. Two bathroom breaks only are allowed in a 14-hour workday. Every opening of the body is searched before and after work. Pregnancy is grounds for dismissal. That's why Isabel has more than once found fetuses on the bathroom floor as women sought desperately to keep their jobs in this grueling and demeaning sweatshop. The jeans Isabel and her colleagues make sell for more than 30 dollars in popular clothing stores. The women, however, are paid 20 cents a pair.

This is not an isolated case. In a turbulent corner of Africa children as young as three years of age are lowered into the dark heart of diamond mines to harvest the pricy gems. Called conflict diamonds, the stones are mined in areas controlled by factions opposed to the government. The diamonds are sold to finance militant opposition to the government.

Although the stones they find are worth thousands of dollars, the lives of these children are dispensable. Poor air and tainted water causes sickness, and the young workers are often maimed, abused or killed by rebel soldiers. Children who do not work are often punished with severe beatings or dismemberment. These children trade in their brief lives to provide the world with the modern symbol of forever.

 As children of God, we need to be aware of how our lifestyle choices affect the lives of others, particularly those who cannot speak up for themselves. God calls us to defend the defenseless. Sometimes a bargain for us is purchased through the deprivation of others. Loving things more than people is not pleasing in God's sight. Perhaps the time has come to ask some hard questions about our buying and selling.1



Lord, I cannot solve all the world's problems, but I can make a difference. Open my heart to make a real difference today, one choice at a time.



1Based on Lauren Schwarz, "The Consuming Fire," Adventist Review, October, 2003, 26-29.


 
 
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