Uncommon (Leviticus 20)

Leviticus 20 is filled odd punishments and odd laws attached to said punishments. This chapter is the place where people who call the Bible antiquated and irrelevant for the 21st Century draw good portions of their argument. However, when you sort through the laws and punishments, there is a portion beginning in verse 22 that makes me pause.

God instructs:

You shall therefore keep all my statutes and all my rules and do them, that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. And you shall not walk in the customs of the nation that I am driving out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I detested them. But I have said to you, ‘You shall inherit their land, and I will give it to you to possess, a land flowing with milk and honey.’ I am the Lord your God, who has separated you from the peoples. Leviticus 20:22-24

In short: You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine. Leviticus 20:26

Contemporary Summary:

I’m leading you to a good land so that you can live a far richer and more satisfying life than has ever been experienced by anyone on the planet ever. And, that life is lived through honoring the truth, power and love in my words.
Jesus said it this way, “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  John 10:10

If life lived with God is so good, why don’t more of us take him up on the deal?

G.K. Chesterton, a widely respected British thinker from the early parts of the 20th Century, reflected “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”

Israel never knew the incredible prosperity God offered the nation. They quickly fell into the trap of living like everyone else around them. They adopted other cultures and embraced regional idolatry. They did not live distinctly as God’s people, but rather were subdued by the common.

Christians in the 21st Century are not far behind those early Israelites. So many times I watch people walk away from God pursuing some life that the person has somehow judged to be “better” than what God offers.

I struggle with the dynamics of what Jesus calls abundant life. I still have pain and frustration, relational difficulties and professional failures. I am not wealthy or famous. Yet, there is something quite enticing to the life Jesus invites us to live. I have tried many “satisfactions” in life. Yet, none of them have ever infused or empowered me with the belonging, identity and purpose that Christ has. My life may not measure up to the world’s standard, but then again, it’s not the standard for which I live.

Leviticus 20 is a testament, not about the divide between sacred and secular, but between the common and uncommon. Christ invites us to something more—something different—something uncommon.

George Washington Carver once said, “When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.”

Uncommon… that’s the kind of life I want. How about you?