Psalm 30; Isaiah 5:11-17; Revelation 3:14-22
We’ve all heard the story about Nero fiddling while Rome burned. Nero may not have been a good leader, but he was the best fiddler of his day. Ok, let’s face it, he was the only fiddler of his time, if this story is true. No one knows for sure when the fiddle, or violin for the non-Texans out there, was invented, but most likely it wasn’t until the 16th century. Nevertheless, we use that phrase to describe a “leader” who cares so little about his people that he ignores their plight.
Lest we think we’re clever in coming up with this concept, though, Isaiah spoke of this attitude long ago. “They have harps and lyres at their banquets, pipes and timbrels and wine, but they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord, no respect for the work of his hands. Therefore my people will go into exile for lack of understanding; those of high rank will die of hunger and the common people will be parched with thirst.” (Isaiah 5:12-13) The party’s going on while the invader is ready to destroy.
We see that in the church today. We have some, so called leaders, who have the finest of everything at church, at home, and while traveling. They are surrounded by others as they experience the finest material things in life. They remind us that God wants us to have the best material things in life and they show their belief in that every day. Meanwhile, those followers of Christ in material poverty are seeking to find a way to eat and have shelter. In some areas of the world, faithfulness to Christ brings not the finest cars and clothes, but severe persecution even unto death.
As the world grows more secular, it grows unfriendlier to Christians. Many Christians laugh off concerns by alluding to the Rapture that will protect them from all harm. Perhaps. Meanwhile, our brothers and sisters are dealing with severe persecution and the presence of Jesus Christ is being wiped out in some countries. Christians from those areas might ask us, quite honestly, “Why would God protect you with the Rapture and not us?” We must keep our focus on Jesus, not as a giver of material goods, but as the Savior of the world who wants each and every person to follow Him.
Lord, forgive me for failing to remember those in persecution. Forgive me for focusing on my material excesses when so many are in need. Help all those who claim to follow You to be Your people, working together to share Your love.