I have been paying close attention to the World Cup. It is no surprise that we have already heard of unsportsmanlike conduct and referee mistakes. But, we have also witnessed incredible team chemistry and impressive feats of skill. (Or impressive feats with feets).
While the world wages war in winter on the pitch in South Africa, we experience summer. I find myself mowing the lawn, weeding the gardens, staking tomatoes, grilling sliders, and making smoothies. The garden is full of sage, thyme, and rosemary that I mix with garlic into little bison patties and eat with muenster and cheddar. And if you have never tried the stuff that comes out of a blender when you mix fruit, ice, and yogurt – its time.
During all this, I have been reading the Old Testament book of Job. Job is known for his suffering and the people around him who were full of counsel and advice. An interesting time to read Job since I don’t feel like I am suffering and my friends are usually able to give some pretty good advice (well, some of them). At any rate, watching the World Cup, eating sliders and smoothies, or reading about someone else’s suffering doesn’t feel like suffering.
But Job is a timely book that has a way of working its way into your soul no matter your circumstances. For one, Job knows that we are not defined by our stuff. Life is not about prosperity or the lack of it. Job knows that this is not a new concern. Some claim the book of Job to be the first book of the bible ever written. Whether or not this is true, Job is evidence that this danger has been around for a long time.
Like all books we want to read Job with what the author had in mind. While it may be true that Job wants us to recognize that blessings are not directly related to goodness. That suffering and pain may not be related to behavior. That life is not consistently fair. Job may also want us to be asking whether we serve God for God’s sake or for our own profit? Perhaps Job wants us to explore our tendency for self centeredness.
If weeds overtake or summer heat scorches the garden. If the lawn mower or the blender break down. If the USA is eliminated from the World Cup earlier than I would like. If my friends start telling me that these things are my fault. I hope that I will hear Job above the distractions reminding me that it is not about me at all. As with Job, it is about God. It is always about God.