In good times and bad, the righteous live well
Scripture tells us about a man named Job who lived long ago in the land of Uz. We read that he was blameless and upright, that he feared God and shunned evil. These characteristics made him stand out in the crowd.
Job had seven sons and three daughters. He had thousands of sheep, cattle, camels, donkeys and other flock. He was wealthy; everyone wanted to be his friend. His children enjoyed the wealth and freedom that being one of his children afforded. Scripture tells us that he was the greatest man among all the people of the East. Be sure you know that his greatness was tied to his righteousness.
His children often lay back and threw grand parties or feasts. They would stop for days at a time and indulge themselves, their friends and loved ones in food, drink and merrymaking. Dad rarely joined them. He was busy doing what older righteous and blameless people do. Note, I did not say self-righteous or proud people.
The blameless or the righteous take care of the store; they keep accurate ledgers, live lives that are accountable and lives that count. They abide by the rules. They are up early and go to bed at sensible hours. They keep things clean; they sweep the walk and put the trash in the basket. Their windows are washed and the lawn is mowed.
Make no mistake, the blameless know how and when to party. If they desire they can have front-row seats to all the venues worth visiting. They can sit on the 50-yard line or on the edge of the playing field. They can fly first class and be on the top deck of the cruise ship if they choose. They eat at Zippy's and anywhere else they desire.
Righteous people are often tested just like Job was tested. They know what it is like to be driven to say things like "Though God slay me, I will trust him. I know how to live the right way, and I will not turn from that regardless of circumstance, regardless of how things seem. I know whom I have trusted, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed against that day." People like Job prevail in the bad times and the good times.
Job did one thing that we all can do. You do not need thousands of animals or dollars to do this. Scripture tells us that Job remembered his children and presented an offering to God on their behalf each morning.
An offering can be as simple as naming your children before the God of Heaven and Earth. Lord, would you bless Pam, Kari, Liz, Debbie, George, Bob, Chris and Billy today? Would you keep them safe? Would you watch over them? Protect them? Promote them? Make them creative and courageous? Give them wisdom and insight? Make them lovable and lovely? Would you teach them to love each other and all others?
You can be like Job. All it takes is to bring those you love, and those you do not know well enough to love, before the Lord as each day begins.
The Rev. Murray Hohns is an associate pastor with New Hope Christian Fellowship.