Should we seek great things for ourselves? Last post discussed leading a quiet life that’s faithful in “small things” based on:
- 1 Thessalonians 4:11 Aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.
- Zechariah 4:10 Do not despise the day of small things, for the LORD rejoices to see these things take place.
God is looking for consistency in the ordinary activities of our daily lives that often seem insignificant or trivial.
The prophet Jeremiah had a faithful scribe named Baruch. He was probably Jeremiah’s closest friend, and for much of Jeremiah’s ministry, his only friend. Jeremiah gets the attention, but Baruch was also a man of God who faithfully stood by the prophet through years of persecution and rejection. Jeremiah was the most despised man of his day, and being his assistant meant being the only person on Jeremiah’s side and suffering when he suffered.
So something happened. Baruch started wanting more for himself. A quiet life consisting of faithfulness in small things was no longer enough for him.
Then something else happened. God rebuked him…
Jeremiah 45:5 Do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them.
God actually told Baruch NOT to seek great things. This is like the opposite of the prosperity “gospel” or “name-it-and-claim-it” theology.
Why didn’t God want Baruch seeking these “great things”? It’s possible they weren’t necessarily selfish or sinful. Maybe he wanted marriage, children, or simply a normal life. But while these are common for most people, they weren’t part of God’s plan for the scribe. The application for us is we want certain things – and they might not be selfish or sinful – but they might not be part of God’s plan for our lives.
But more than likely the real problem for Baruch is found in the words “for yourself.” There’s nothing wrong with wanting great things for God, but Baruch wanted great things for himself. He had aspirations for position, honor, or distinction.
Being a scribe was a fairly lucrative profession. Most people couldn’t read or write, so someone who could do both could make a lot of money. Baruch knew if he didn’t serve Jeremiah he could’ve lived a much more comfortable and respected life than he experienced.
We all face the same temptation to “seek great things.” What does it look practically to resist this temptation and “lead a quiet life” that’s faithful in “small things”?
- For any husbands or fathers this means:
- Going to work every day.
- Striving to love your wife as Christ loves the church.
- Being a strong spiritual leader. Take your family to church. Involve your family in the body of Christ. Read the Word and pray together as a family.
- For any wives or mothers this means:
- Submitting to your husband, respecting him, and supporting his vision for the family.
- Taking care of your children, your husband, and your home.
- For children this means obeying your parents. Being a blessing to them and your siblings.
- For any single young adults, this means staying pure, being a good steward of the time you have, and preparing to be a husband or wife.
And Jesus Himself is a great example for us.
Even though He knew full well He could’ve lived as a King and experienced the best this world had to offer, His life lacked extravagance and glamor.
Sometimes we get caught up in the supernatural of His earthly life, but if you strip that away there was a plainness and simplicity. He performed miracles, but He often seemed reluctant (John 2:4, Matt 15:25-26). He chose to do so out of sympathy: Matthew 14:14 And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick (also Matt 9:36). Even then He said, “Don’t tell anyone” (Matt 8:4, 12:16, 17:9).
He wanted to keep the focus on His teaching, and the service, modesty, and humility He exemplified. He was content simply fulfilling the will of His Father: John 4:34 “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”
This should be our food too. We should find our purpose and satisfaction obeying the will of God the Father, and for each of us that’s going to mean “leading a quiet life” that’s faithful in “small things.”
Author: Scott LaPierre