Monday, September 13, 2010

Contract or Covenant

In Sunday school this past Sunday, we talked about the difference between a contract and a covenant. The example JtM gave of a contract is one we might make with a kid to cut the grass -- a lawn-b0y. In exchange for grass mowing, the owner of the yard will pay $20 - maybe extra if he throws in trimming, but not at all if there is no work done. No real relationship needs to exist between the two parties of the contract.

God's covenant with his people (and with us) is very different that a contract.

It got me thinking. What would a covenant between a yard owner and a lawn-boy be like if it compared to God's Covenant with his people?

It would be like making a covenant with a teenager to cut your grass. He will be your lawnboy. Even if he never cuts the grass, or does any trimming, or shows up at all, he is still your lawnboy. You pay him the $20, and then you add to it, for no reason. You hope he will cut the grass because he is your lawnboy, and you are trying to love him into relationship with you. You want to show him the right way to be a lawnboy and in fact you will show up at his house, and cut his grass, just so he'll see how great the yard looks when it is properly taken care of. Sometimes he even comes over and dumps grass clippings and trash in your yard, but you forgive him, because he is your lawnboy, and you really love him. When he runs over your neighbor's petunias with his lawn mower (that you bought him), you pay for the mistake yourself. Everyone else says you are radically out of sync with what is supposed to be happening, but you ignore them. Grace upon grace you lavish on this young person, hoping that he will respond to your kindness and love. In fact, what he does is to judge the shoddy work of the neighbor's lawn service because they miss a few weeds when they are caring for the yard.

God's love is not a contract. It's a radically different covenant that we would say is unfair -- and it is, that God.

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