By Carl McMurray
.. You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and sky, but why do you not analyze this present time?” (Lk. 12:56, NASV).
As I view the church in different places, I se that the brethren are quite a varied and talented group. There are doctors and lawyers, office managers and supervisors, artists and sales help, scientists and secretaries, engineers and police officers. Every one of these sees a different segment of life and analyzes culture specimens, criminal justice or the business climate, however, I wonder if we are really seeing the “signs of the times.”
Do we see our homes being hurt? Note that I said “our” homes. The homes of the world have always been in disorder. Now the homes of more and more Christians are troubled. More of “our” children are growing up in the hands of others than their parents. The obvious result is a lack of discipline and failure to pass on the parents’ values. Husbands and wives drift apart because each is so busy that they have no time to spend with each other. We spend more time with and draw closer to the people with whom we work than with those whom we love and have responsibilities and commitments toward. Often the result is divorce! Even when a divorce does not take place so many of our children are lost to the kingdom of God.
Do we see our congregations suffering? If work calls, the Lord must wait, even if it is a second job, or the wife’s work (in the sense of “helping out,” not being the “bread winner”) or even a teenager’s job at Burger King. If we want to vacation or visit or just sit home, our seat in the assembly testifies to where our heart is. Our Bible classes suffer because of the lack of participation. The work in many places goes lacking because few who are unfaithful in attendance will be faithful in liberal giving. Our children observe and follow our example and are hurt thereby. Brethren watch and wonder and are discouraged.
Do we see ourselves hurting? The home (one’s spouse and children) is the center piece of one’s life. Success here is an everlasting joy and victory over life. Failure here is a failure that no other successes in life can take the sting from. Likewise, the church is not some institution or group we “join.” It is family, love, and our connection to eternity and salvation. When home or church is hurting we are hurting. Sure, it can be ignored for a while or even covered up, buta price will be paid and it may be an everlasting one.
Let’s not be like the elderly fellow who can see and examine everything at a distance, but cannot see anything up close, where it really matters. Let’s not be like the Jews who could tell the weather by looking at the sky, but could not see the Son of God standing in front of them. Nor could they see what was coming for their nation as a result of their blindness. Instead, let’s open our eyes and see things as they really are. Jesus Christ will give us the clear vision to do so, if our hearts are truly intent on serving him.
Guardian of Truth XXXVII, No. 23, p. 24
December 2, 1993