Our author today points our eyes in the right direction. Don’t be caught up in looking at what others have. God is our hope, NOT things.
Today is the first day of the new year. You may not be reading this on this date though. The wise words of today fit well with walking into a new year but they fit equally well every day of our lives. Stop looking around with envy at what this world has to offer. Look instead to God. He is the ONLY sure hope.
As I was rereading and thinking about our text a sermon I once heard came to my mind. The sermon was about Moses, when he killed the Egyptian task master. Of note and similarity is that both deal with “looking around”. Moses looked around to see if anyone was watching. Our author speaks of looking around to see what others might have.
In both instances, those doing the looking are gaging what they can get from the world around them. Moses wanted privacy so he could act in a way he KNEW was wrong. When we look around, we are making a mental ‘shopping list’ or ‘wish list’. I know I have been guilty of this on occasion. I’ve found it enjoying to ‘window shop’ but when that ‘shopping’ becomes desiring or lust, trouble sets in.
There is a canopy in my yard that is probably 20 years old. It has definitely seen better days and needs replacing. There is nothing like it on the market any longer, so I went ‘window shopping’ on Amazon. There are SO MANY choices! But I find my eyes drawn to the ones that depict a cozy setting beneath the canopy. I would like the life they depict. I think that’s probably why they set up their ads that way. The ads are designed to draw on our ‘I want’ setting. Is it wrong to consider the well-presented options? No. But it becomes wrong when I become consumed with getting that item or that lifestyle.
THINGS DON’T LAST! We know from God’s word and even our own experiences that things break. Quite often right after the warranty expires, but that’s a thought for another time. NOTHING on this earth lasts forever. Even people eventually die. And the things that we have or haven’t accumulated will do noting from that moment on. You CANNOT take it with you! ALL that you have amassed will be left behind for your survivors to divide among themselves. Lust is NOT worth the time it takes up in our day.
Our author is talking about more than just tangible things. I believe he is speaking of intangible issues too. We easily see how our eyes can be drawn to the things. But our eyes can be drawn to people’s positions, power, friends, talents, and even body shape. We can become envious of the lives they lead, thinking they have it ALL. But in all likelihood, they don’t. There is always someone a little bit ‘more’ that everyone is tempted to compare their lives with.
No matter what they have, if they don’t have Jesus, they have NOTHING. This life is short in comparison to the time we exist. Eternity awaits ALL of us on the other side of the grave. Where we will spend that time is what we need to be concerned about. Will it be WITH God, or WITHOUT Him? Even those who don’t believe in salvation through Jesus have a wish to spend eternity in comfort. They think that they will get into Heaven by being good. I’m sorry to say they are in for a rude awakening!
But we don’t need to wait until after death to find safety with our Lord. Those who love Him and have a relationship with Him can see Him at work in our lives on a daily basis. He brings us EXACTLY what we need in our lives. He cares for us. He protects us. He assures us of our value to Him. And He LOVES us! THESE things are just the beginning of our “hope” in Him.
To KNOW, beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are loved is what we ALL long for. You cannot get that from things, power, money, other people, or even pets. That assurance comes ONLY through Jesus. HE is the ONLY thing I want to long for. THAT is the relationship that I cherish above ALL others. And when that one is in order, the others fall into place. Even the THINGS I need are taken care of when my relationship with Him is in order.
Thank You Father for Your ALL-CONSUMING LOVE. You care about every aspect of my life, mortal and eternal. I KNOW I am safe in Your arms. And I have ALL I need when I put You first in my life. Because YOU know what I REALLY need. Help me remember this at ALL times. Especially when I’m tempted to compare my life (and body) to others.