Have you ever watched the reality television show Shark Tank? If you’re not familiar, it features aspiring entrepreneurs who pitch their ideas to a panel of successful, wealthy businesspersons in hopes of securing their financial and intellectual support. The premise is that once they can partner with one of the “sharks” they will be well on their way to prosperity. Some get rejected and leave the show dejected while some get chosen to team up with one of the panelists. For them it’s a dream come true to work with a financial expert.
There’s a concept we see throughout Scripture that resembles this arrangement. It’s called covenant. A covenant is an agreement between two individuals or nations. Sometimes they are equal parties and enjoy some sort of mutual benefit through the agreement. In other cases, the covenant is made between a superior individual and an inferior individual where the superior offers the inferior some benefit in exchange for money or services. In some ways this is similar to what we call contracts or treaties.
What is unique in Scripture is that God himself enters into covenants with people. An example is His covenant with the Jewish people. God offers to bless this nation, provide them a land to live in, and promises to use them in special ways to represent Him to all the other nations. In exchange He expects obedience and a commitment to live a special ethic. That ethic is summarized in the Ten Commandments. The Old Testament of our Bibles is essentially the story of the how this relationship plays out. In fact, the word “testament” can be synonymous with “covenant.”
When Jesus arrives, he uses covenant terminology as well. One of Jesus’ missions is to bring to all human beings the offer to enter into an agreement with God. God offers forgiveness of sins, abundant and eternal life, and His special presence with us through the Holy Spirit. In exchange he expects faith – a commitment to recognize Him as the one and only God resulting in a life characterized by things like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and other virtues we see in Him. The New Testament of our Bibles is essentially the story of this offer.
We have a choice with our lives. We can try to make a go of it on our own. We can rely on our own abilities, our own wisdom, our own creativity and hope for the best. Or we can partner with someone. And there are many people who are willing to offer their expertise in life in exchange for something. Poets, philosophers, scientists, preachers, and an assortment of gurus are more than willing to take us on as partners. I suppose they all have something beneficial to offer. But one exceeds them all.
The all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God beckons us from heaven offering us His wisdom and expertise. He offers to partner with us and take our flawed and broken lives with the promise of turning them into something more beautiful and wonderful than we can even imagine. And this offer remains on the table to all. To you. To me. To everyone.