Amy Carmichael, Founder of the Dohnavur Fellowship, Spiritual Writer, 1951.
First Day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Hear this, you who trample the needy and do away with the poor of the land, saying, “When will the New Moon be over that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?”—skimping on the measure, boosting the price and cheating with dishonest scales, buying the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, selling even the sweepings with the wheat.
In today’s text, Amos addresses Israel’s lack of concern for the poor. He specifically directs his message to the Israelite merchants who cheat in the marketplace by using dishonest scales in the commercial transactions while hypocritically retaining an outward face of devotion to God. This is what we term religious formalism. They show their love for God by their mind while their hearts were far from God. They earned their living by extorting from the poor. The ephah was the measure whereby they sold corn. This they made smaller than the just standard, and so cheated in the quantity of what they sold. The shekel was the money they received for the price of their goods, and by weighing this by too heavy a weight, they diminished its real value, and so cheated also in the sum they received. Poor paid more for less. This is not remote to experiences today in this world where people are becoming billionaires by extorting from the poor. Prices are increasing on daily basis while the quality is diminishing. As Christians we need to do good business practices. Let us give people the best products and good value for their money. We need to inculcate best ethical practices in our business and value human beings as human beings not as just consumers at our disposal. Let the spirit of fairness and love define our daily dealings. Amen
O God, who brought the Abbot Saint Anthony to serve you by a wondrous way of life
in the desert, grant, through his intercession, that, denying ourselves, we may always
love you above all things. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and
reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen