Leader for the GoodFebruary 26, 2020 - 12:00 am
“Say to them, ‘I am a sign to you’.” — Ezekiel 12:11
As we remember the anniversary of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein’s passing this month, we offer you a selection of his devotional thoughts on leaving a legacy of faith. To learn more about Rabbi Eckstein’s teachings on the Jewish roots of the Christian faith, visit our Limmud Study Archive.
Faith is sometimes characterized as an intellectual or emotional crutch for the weak-minded. But those of us who understand the rich heritage of Scripture know better. We know that faith entails a constant struggle to better serve our Creator – to give thanks to Him for sustaining us and giving our lives meaning.
This is no easy task. After all, where should we possibly begin? Humanity being far from perfect, it seems that we have before us an endless “to-do list” if we want to truly serve the Almighty.
This is why I’ve always thought that Ezekiel’s simple message here in Chapter 12 is so powerful and comforting at the same time. Throughout his prophetic career, Ezekiel was assigned the task of instructing his countrymen on how to correct their errant behaviour so as to better serve God. Not only was this often a thankless task but, if you really think about it, also an incredibly difficult one.
Think about our own lives: is it ever easy to point out to another person – whether a friend or family member – that he or she is behaving improperly and should endeavour to change? Aside from the awkward nature of such encounters, we also realize that it’s difficult to criticize someone else when we may be guilty of the very same flaw or some other flaw. Wouldn’t pointing out someone else’s problem sound hypocritical?
God Himself acknowledges this basic problem; He tells Ezekiel that instead of just haranguing his audience, berating them into changing, he should actually go out and set a good example. Through his own actions, Ezekiel demonstrated for others how to live a life in service to God. He was “a sign.”
Let’s make this our goal. If we find ourselves in the company of those behaving poorly, or if we feel that another person could benefit from changing his or her ways, let’s not act as judge. Instead, let us work as hard as we can to ensure that we, ourselves, are behaving well and setting a good example.
Imagine, if we set just one good example a day, how many lives we could alter forever!
You can honour the lifework and legacy of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein through a memorial donation that will bring critical humanitarian aid and hope to those in need. Through your partnership, we can continue to bring Christians and Jews together to support Israel and her people.