The Equity of God
I have been longing to write and share this brief narrative for a few months. In my consulting work through Saheli7, the primary thrust is equity. For me it is very important to attempt to live a congruent life. In other words, I believe it is a blessing when the elements within a person’s life navigate down a similar stream. By invitation I travel up and down California, seeking to help educators and organizations implement elements of equity in their schools and institutions. The kind of equity work I engage is racial; thus it is about making sure all racial groups (especially the underserved) have what they need to thrive and excel.
One day I was reflecting and measuring how my work in a school district, consulting business, and ministry harmonize and integrate. It was through these thoughts that I realized the complete work of God is about equity. Without engaging critically, we are conditioned to think about equality and not equity. The work and issuance of equality sounds just, fair, and righteous, but in actuality God does not operate in equality, He moves through equity. The proverbial writer said, “He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. 9 Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path” (Proverbs 2:8-9). In the Old Testament the Hebrew word for equity is meyshar and it means “evenness, levelness, and smoothness.” From and through a God-lens, in its purest form, equity operates out of love and provides what is needed as opposed to what is wanted. Theologically, divine equity is the ministry of providing what every person needs to reach their full potential in Christ, and not everyone needs the exact same thing or the exact dosage of a thing. The early church was full of members with diversified gifts and the same is true today. Not everyone has the same God-breathed talent – and even those who do are not given the same measure or manifestation. Equality is not the same as equity.
An example of divine equity is actualized through the case-study of parenting children. The Bible says “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). This means when raising a child or children, their unique tendencies, talents, and gifts must be cultivated. Love must always be applied with equality, but cultivation for efficacy and purpose is the work of equity. Every person seeking success cannot receive the exact same ingredients. We do not all need the same ingredient measurements. We all needed the cleansing blood of Christ, but all were not and are not drawn to Him the exact same way. With applied equity, some need more and some need less, but equity provides what is needed so a person can reach their full potential and not be left behind. The premise of equity also requires the understanding of mercy, grace, and generosity, so a person is not left feeling neglected because they did not receive the same thing as their neighbor.
In the story of the two lost sons in Luke 15, when the older son complained to his father about his younger brother receiving the honor of the ring, fatted calf, robe, and banquet invitation – his father said to him “And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine” (Luke 15:31). In essence the father made clear that what he gave to his younger son upon his return, was not necessary or needed for the welfare and development of his older son. The father acted out of the divine principle of equity and not equality. When people are not careful and slide into an attitude of selfishness, like the older son, they can view the love of equity toward another as neglect toward them. God does not need to bless you with what you already have, but He may need to do that for the brother or sister next to you.
Equity is a beautiful principle because it ensures all have what they need and seeks balance. Equity is the methodology that brings about equality, fostering equitable access and opportunities. Notice this principle of divine equity: “Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have. 13 Of course, I don’t mean your giving should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves. I only mean that there should be some equality. 14 Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal.15 As the Scriptures say, “Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough” (2 Corinthians 8:12-15). In verse 14 of the passages above the Greek word translated equality is isotes and means that which is fair and equitable. So in this case of balanced service, Paul was not asking all to give the same amount, he urged them to give to the best of their ability, based upon what they had, so all people could share in the ministry equally, creating equity. Equity is not about others being burdened and taxed while others neglect to participate or share. It is the opposite. The premise of Paul was, “engage with a community spirit of equity now, so if you are in need in the future it can be replicated.”
Every Christian must be tremendously thankful for the equity-work of God, because Christ operated out of equity at Calvary. If God operated out of equality, He would have to exact vengeance. Humanity disobeyed God and crucified His Son, but instead of moving with equal justice toward His human creation, He engaged in the ministry of equity/grace, providing to us what we needed/need to grow and be forgiven in Him.
Thank God for the ministry of equity, generating and effectuating the purpose of equality. Remember that you are the clay in the Potter’s Hand and God has paved a Way to save you today!
Dr. Ammar Saheli