Good Things of His Master's Hand

The world has plenty of religions and ideologies for sale, each one clamoring for attention like obnoxious salesmen. What do we have to offer the world?

Child on a beach with hands cupped holding stone pebble with the word hope engraved. (Image © Bigstock)

Portion Summary & Scripture Reading
Chayei Sarah

Regular Shabbat Readings

  • Chayei Sarah (חַיֵּי שָֹרָה | Sarah's life)
  • Torah: Genesis 23:1-25:18
  • Haftarah: 1 Kings 1:1-31
  • Gospel: John 4:3-14

* References are from the Hebrew Bible. Christian Bibles vary slightly when indicated with *.

Portion Outline

  • Torah
    • Genesis 23:1 | Sarah's Death and Burial
    • Genesis 24:1 | The Marriage of Isaac and Rebekah
    • Genesis 25:1 | Abraham Marries Keturah
    • Genesis 25:7 | The Death of Abraham
    • Genesis 25:12 | Ishmael's Descendants
  • Prophets
    • 1Ki 1:1 | The Struggle for the Succession
    • 1Ki 1:28 | The Accession of Solomon

Portion Summary

The fifth reading from the book of Genesis is named Chayei Sarah. It means "Sarah lived," because the narrative begins with the words "Now Sarah lived one hundred and twenty-seven years" (Genesis 23:1). This portion of the Torah is filled with romance and sorrow. It tells the story of how Abraham mourned his wife after her passing, and how he procured a wife for his son Isaac. At the end of this portion, Abraham is laid to rest beside his beloved wife.

Abraham sent his servant Eliezer to find a wife for his son Isaac. The name Eliezer (אֱלִיעֶזֶר‎) literally means “God of Help.” As Eliezer went forth to procure a bride for Isaac, he relied on the God of Help to assist him. An angel went before him.

When we set out to do the work of God, we need to rely on Him for help, especially in the matter of evangelism. After all, we are not trying to make converts to a religious creed; we are trying to change hearts. This is an impossible task for a human being. Even the greatest psychiatrists cannot change the human heart. Therefore, like Eliezer, we rely utterly on the God of Help.

Then the servant took ten camels from the camels of his master, and set out with a variety of good things of his master’s in his hand; and he arose and went to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor. (Genesis 24:10)

As we go forth to proclaim the good news, we bring the good things from the household of God. In the midst of a lost and hurting world, we have the goods that people need. What are these good things of our Master’s house? They are acts of loving-kindness, forgiveness, wholeness, peace, and that most precious of all commodities: hope. Many people have never experienced unconditional love. They have never known real kindness, real friendship, real compassion. Many people have lived most of their lives without even modest hopes. These are things we have received in abundance through Messiah, and we can pass them on to others, but only if we bring them with us.

Eliezer brought the gifts from his master’s household with him in order to establish his credibility. If he had simply appeared in Aram, claiming to be looking for an attractive young girl to bring back to some faraway prince, the men of that place would have driven him away as a scoundrel and kidnapper.

Is it any different with us? If we start to speak into people’s lives about God and faith without first having provided them with evidence of the fruit of our faith, they will drive us away as religious fanatics. The world has plenty of religions and ideologies for sale, each one clamoring for attention like obnoxious salesmen.

The good things of our Master’s house establish credibility: “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). The fruit of the Spirit is irresistible to the thirsty soul. A person of genuine faith and conviction who lives out his faith and manifests his convictions in godliness and real kindness, without phoniness or pretense, naturally attracts others.

Adapted From: Torah Club Commentary Set: Shadows of the Messiah. Learn more about Torah Club and how you can start a Club of your own, or join a Torah Club in your area. Visit TORAHCLUB.ORG

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