The Cost of Living

In much of the world at the moment there is a cost of living crisis. Prices of things we consider essential are rising almost out of control. Many people are caught in a ‘poverty trap’, unable to lift themselves out of poverty because of the economic system in which they live. Governments are under pressure to help.

The Law which God gave to His people Israel, which we know as the Law of Moses, had provision for the poor. The Jews were commanded to care for them, not exploiting them or making profit from them. There was no poverty trap: even if a poor person volunteered himself as a hired worker in order to survive, he would be released to make a new start at the year of Jubilee. Also, he or a friend could ‘redeem’ him – pay his master for his freedom. His master was told:

He shall treat him as a servant hired year by year. He shall not rule ruthlessly over him in your sight. And if he is not redeemed by these means, then he and his children with him shall be released in the year of jubilee (Leviticus 25:53 & 54).

Being ‘redeemed’ is a theme in the Bible. Most importantly, it’s illustrated by Jesus Christ. Jesus died a cruel death so that we could be redeemed from the worst possible crisis: the fact that as sinners we naturally die and perish. A situation which, without Jesus, is utterly helpless and hopeless.

Jesus said of himself:

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).

The Apostle Peter wrote to believers:

You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot (1 Peter 1:18-19).

Jesus does not ask for much in return, but he does ask us to follow him and try to obey God in this life. This involves loving and caring for others. In return he offers us eternal life. He has ‘paid the price’ for this, doing much more than we could ever begin to achieve. Surely this is the ultimate cost of living!

Anna Hart

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