Feburary 28, 2011 Devotional

Have I not wept for the one whose life is hard?
Was not my soul grieved for the needy?

Job 9:25 NAS

February 28, 2011

There is a lot to be said of modern technology. It has not only improved medicine and science, but also religion. I know of a professor from school who writes a blog that reaches into China and evangelizes to them. From his keyboard he is a missionary in a foreign land. For that we should be thankful. However, with the good always comes the bad. We know about the bad. Some of you have typed into a search engine what you thought to be an innocent word and instantly a picture pops on your screen with offensive words. Then those devious sites know how to track you and send you dozens of emails a day offering you illegal or immoral products. Astonishing how one second of a mistake can land you months of irritating and offensive material dropped into your electronic mail system. This is bad and we know how to steer clear of those dangers. However, there are dangers far more pervasive in just the normal everyday news feed that go unnoticed these days.

Every day the Home Page on our computer feeds us the local, national and world news. Continually during the day we read stories about farmers who lost their crops to insect infestation or poor weather conditions, or ranchers whose animals have caught a disease and can’t be consumed any longer. We read stories of businesses that have thousands of employees that are forced to close their doors. We read how our government is spending what we don’t have and wasting what we already gave them. We read these stories and we shake our head. Now how do these stories become pervasive? They desensitize us! Think about the numerous times you are in a grocery line and see a young mother buying baby food using her WIC Card or food stamps and the cashier treats her rudely. So do you when she turns your way embarrassed and you scowl at her and shake your head. You think to yourself, “If you can’t afford a baby, don’t have one.” Think about the times you drove past a house that is being foreclosed and all you do is shake your head and assume they lost the house because the owner bit off more than they could chew so this is their fault. Now ask yourself, “When did I stop caring for my brother?” 

The more advanced our technology is, the more detached we become from one another. Oh, we think we are more attached because of social networks but we fool ourselves into that belief system. These systems just create a dependence on them that pulls us away from human contact. We used to talk over the fence or meet for a meal, then we learned to talk in email, and now we just comment on each other’s status updates. All of this creates a barrier between humans, and stories of human failure and sufferings are just one more story for us to read and delete. What a sad time we live in and I am so sorry for being a part of this detached human condition.

The verse I chose today is coming from the Book of Job. This is a story of a very wealthy man who was blessed with a lot of family and he lost everything. Through it all he tried to figure out what he did wrong or offensive to God for this to happen. He learns that he did nothing, and in the end God restores Job and gives him another family and riches. How many times have you read this story and thought that riches are blessings from God? Was it a blessing the first half of this story? Do you think that Job forgot all about his first family when he got the second family? I think we do Job a huge disservice whenever we think the blessing came only in the second half. In this verse Job is stating a fact to God and that is, no matter how rich he was he never once allowed his heart to be callous concerning those in need. That is an important quality to have and he points that out in his statement.

This is a quality we all lack today. How many of you can honestly say that when you pass by a house that has a foreclosure sign in front of it, you don’t stop and pray for the previous owners? You don’t go to God in prayer and ask Him to lead them to a new job, a nice and safe home and then ask how you may help them. We were notified last week that the bookstore Borders was closing stores in the Chicagoland area. How many of you read that story and prayed for the employees who were losing their jobs? How many offered them a new job? How many of you were behind a young mother in a grocery line and saw her using her WIC card or food stamps and reached over and handed her money to buy a treat for herself and her children?

It used to be that the poor lived in the rural areas and some designated spots in the city. Now they are moving into the suburbs and we see them more often. Our solution is to ban For Sale signs on our front lawns so they don’t learn of houses they can buy or rent. We go to townhall meetings and object loudly to more government apartments. We applaud grocery stores that hang signs in their windows stating: “We don’t accept welfare or public aid.” We have become desensitized to the poor and the needy and we think we are children of God. We couldn’t be more wrong.

A child of God would cry when they see a young mother struggle to feed her child, their hearts would break to see another suffer and they would grieve for the needy and do what they can to help the one whose life is hard. What breaks our Father’s heart should break ours. I think it breaks our Father’s heart to see how much we have been given and how selfish we’ve become and proud of our material possessions. In the Book of Job Satan wanted to test Job to see if he really loved God, so he took all that Job had away. Satan doesn’t have to take anything away from us; he just needed to give us more by way of technology. This is a fast-paced changing world, and what should be good and bring us closer together works to keep us apart. Job knows that a child of God, one who loves Him, would love and care for those in need. Job knew that those in need were put in his life so he can provide. This is what makes Job a child of God.

What makes you weep? What brings you grief? What makes you think you are a child of God?

In His love,

Michele Beck


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