Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Serious Men and Women, With Serious Purpose

When we think of serious people, we sometimes make the mistake of thinking that they never laugh, smile, or enjoy life with maybe the exception of a brief nod to their accomplishments. Some read the scriptures and consider Jesus, Peter, and Paul to be people of this type. Our interactions with Nebuchadnezzar in the Old Testament seem quite serious too.

“For thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Behold, I will bring against Tyre from the north Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses, with chariots, and with horsemen, and an army with many people. He will slay with the sword your daughter villages in the fields; he will heap up a siege mound against you, build a wall against you, and raise a defense against you. He will direct his battering rams against your walls, and with his axes he will break down your towers. Because of the abundance of his horses, their dust will cover you; your walls will shake at the noise of the horsemen, the wagons, and the chariots, when he enters your gates, as men enter a city that has been breached. With the hooves of his horses he will trample all your streets; he will slay your people by the sword, and your strong pillars will fall to the ground. They will plunder your riches and pillage your merchandise; they will break down your walls and destroy your pleasant houses; they will lay your stones, your timber, and your soil in the midst of the water. I will put an end to the sound of your songs, and the sound of your harps shall be heard no more. I will make you like the top of a rock; you shall be a place for spreading nets, and you shall never be rebuilt, for I the LORD have spoken,’ says the Lord GOD. (Eze 26:7-14)

A serious man with a serious purpose. The Lord commanded Nebuchadnezzar to take down a city and its villages. A siege of a city was a serious undertaking back in the day, and it would be today as well. Months of planning, logistics reaching all the way back to his capital, training of cavalry and infantry, education of the engineers, and his base had to be secure back home too. Then, the weeks or months to get the army in place, followed by the weeks or months a siege would last. Nebuchadnezzar had a firm will and a lot of help from generals and privates. However, God through His spoken word had already declared this serious man to be victorious. So, do we need to be serious in manner and countenance to be victorious in Christ?

I don't believe that is the case. We are tempted to conflate serious with dour, grim, and unsmiling; and when a tough job is at hand we may have trouble being anything but those things. However, a serious mind applied to a serious mission does not have to be at all times grim and downcast. Scraping the skin off the nose on the ol' grindstone tends to hurt!

Jesus had a serious purpose: to save us from our sin. Yet our Lord was criticized for keeping the company of those the religious leaders considered somewhat less than serious. We have those times for being serious-minded with serious purpose, but since we also want to keep company with our Lord, maybe we don't want to be so grim all the time. He seemed to like being with those who enjoyed life with Him.


No comments: