Friday, December 1, 2023

Longing To Be Useful (Job 29)

“I was eyes to the blind, and I was feet to the lame” (Job 29:15).

We learn from this discourse that Job valued not the honor, wealth, and dignity he had obtained in the days before his trial, but that he could use his strength, power, and influence to serve and protect his fellow man. Job looked back on a time when others praised him not so much for his wealth but for the good he was able to do. They looked up to him and prayed for him, and Job accepted their praise, not for his own self-exaltation, but because it gave him pleasure to serve.

He valued the many ways he was able to care for the needs of those who could not look after themselves. “He was a father to the poor, not only a judge to protect them and to see that they were not wronged, but a father to provide for them and to see that they did not want, to counsel and direct them and to appear and act for them upon all occasions,” Henry wrote. “Those that were ready to perish he saved from perishing, relieving those that were hungry and ready to perish for want, taking care of those that were sick, that were outcasts, that were falsely accused, or in danger of being turned out of their estates unjustly, or, upon any other account, were ready to perish.”

Job longed for the days when he was able to judge righteously among his people. Because he was a righteous man, he condemned the guilty and acquitted the innocent. But as he sat in ashes with ulcers covering his body, Job worried for those who would come before the courts. Who would speak on their behalf? Who would defend the oppressed? In the days of his strength, Job held back the tide of evil by his influence and authority, but because of his illness and loss he could no longer be as useful as he had been.

It is a common thing for those who have been brought low to lament those days when they had been highly useful in the service of others. Many a great saint has lain on his sickbed longing for more productive days. One assurance during such times is that as long as we have breath, and as long as we have our wits about us, we can pray for others and praise God—two very useful activities for the edification of Christ’s church and for the advancement of His kingdom.

Is there someone in your church or community who is bed-ridden or unable to be as productive as they once had been? Visit and encourage them. If you don’t know anyone, visit a nursing home. Encourage them to pray for others and praise God. Lift their spirits as they struggle with memories of more productive days.