Job 29 – TODAY, WITH GOD’S HELP, I WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE
She wonders why there is a rat on the ceiling. Her brain tumour causes her to hallucinate and feel insecure. I visit Joan (not her real name) in the palliative care room, but she is lost, isolated, rejected, distraught and unable to cope without the presence of her children. She is distressed until they can be there for her again.
Her old wrinkled, weather worn face breaks into a smile and faded eyes light up with the sparkle that only love can reveal as her FAMILY comes to visit her. They make a huge difference to her quality of life since she is unable to live at home. Dementia seems to decrease remarkably as they communicate freely and share together normally. Their influence is making a difference. Even the rat on the ceiling goes away.
The palliative care that Joan receives focuses on relieving her suffering as she dies. It is designed to improve the quality of her life PHYSICALLY, EMOTIONALLY AND SPIRITUALLY.
Job has also lost the comforts of HOME but he is relegated to a palliative care wasteland to sit in dust all day and wait to die. There is no morphine prescribed for his pain and he has outlived his children. He says in Job 29:2,5 “I long for the years gone by when God took care of me,… and my children were around me.” This is not so surprising because the palliative care of his friends is extremely WANTING.
Job longs to find a way through the stabbing darkness of his pain, and for the healing warmth and light of God’s care and direction. He yearns for the good old days, and in his reminiscing I can see the principles of a Godly life. Job 29 is an opportunity for me to make some DECLARATIONS that can mark my life and make a difference in the lives of others.
1. I WILL HELP THE HOPELESS
Perhaps Job 29 is an opportunity to rethink the VALUE OF A PERSON’S LIFE and to love without any expectation of return. Job speaks of this kind of love. Today, let my declaration be the declaration of Job’s life. In Job 29:12, he says, “I helped those without hope,…”
2. I WILL ADVOCATE FOR CHANGE
Job was actively involved in SOCIAL JUSTICE issues. He fought for the rights of those being oppressed. He was an ADVOCATE. In his words he “broke the jaws of godless oppressors and plucked their victims (or prey) from their teeth.” He is a social justice, Rambo! Today I refuse to be contaminated or intimidated by injustice. I will advocate for change.
3. I WILL EXPRESS THE LOVE OF CHRIST
Job describes his life as a tent. When the tent of someone’s life is propped up with sticks and a storm is coming, and they no longer feel the security of God’s presence (Job 29:4), God calls me to tell them of the HOPE there is in Christ, of the friendship and protective covering of God that will give them the stability they need each day?
Job has lost his MARRIAGE relationship. His wife sees him as being as good as dead already. She says “Curse God and die!” My call is to let people know that they can BELIEVE IN CHRIST AND LIVE!
4. I WILL REMIND PEOPLE OF THEIR VALUE
Every day I meet people like Job who have lost their place in the community, who can no longer WORK and do things that are recognised as VALUABLE by others, and who, unless they are reminded of their value, can begin to feel unwanted. They can no longer use their abilities, skills, gifts and talents, and have no motivating strength to CONTRIBUTE to others. Life seems to be stagnated and curdled and smelly because it is beyond its use-by date. They can’t speak loud enough or fast enough and they are not so beautiful anymore? They have a sense of worthlessness and long for the GOOD OLD DAYS. Yet Jesus thinks they are so VALUABLE that He died for their sins and today I have the opportunity to remind them of their value. Today I will see people through THE EYES OF THE CROSS and tell them of God’s love.
5. I WILL SHOW HONOUR AND TREAT PEOPLE WITH RESPECT
Job has become an object of ridicule and pity, a victim, and even in the eyes of his friends – suffering because he deserves it, labelled as evil. He remembers when young and old honoured him (Job 29:8-10). Today I will treat people with respect. I will not LABEL them or mark them as being somehow less human, and less deserving of respect because they are bedridden, slow, or have dementia or even because of their sin. They do not have to earn my respect because they are unable to do so. I will think more highly of others and freely give my love and respect anyway (Philippians 2:3, 1 Corinthians 12:24).
6. I WILL BE GENEROUS WITH THE RESOURCES GOD HAS GIVEN TO ME
Job wants fresh milk times again. He paints a nice picture of “Steps bathed in milk or butter” (Job 29:6). A little slippery perhaps, but a beautiful picture of blessing and generosity. Job used his wealth to contribute to his community. He says in Job 29:12 “For I assisted the poor in their need and the orphans who required help.” I will be generous with the resources God has given to me.
7. I WILL USE MY WORDS AND INFLUENCE TO REFRESH PEOPLE’S LIVES
In Job 29:21-25 Job says, “Everyone listened to my advice (or my counsel). He was obviously well respected and people wanted to hear what he had to say. “they had nothing to add, for my counsel satisfied them,” he says, “They drank my words like a refreshing spring rain. When they were discouraged, I smiled at them. My look of approval was precious to them.” Unlike his friends, Job didn’t seek to bring others down. His approval was sought after. He was not intimidated by their unbelief or intimidating to others.
8. I WILL HAVE INTEGRITY AND LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Job says (Job 29:14 NLT) Those were the days when I went to the city gate and took my place among the honoured leaders (Job 29:7 NLT) “Everything I did was honest. Righteousness covered me like a robe,” (Job 29:14 NLT) ….”Like a chief, I told them what to do (He was a leader) …and comforted those who mourned.” (Job 29:25 NLT). Today, I will show leadership by my example.
9. I WILL LIVE A CHRIST CENTRED LIFE AND GIVE PERSON CENTRED CARE.
We have a mandate at the Shalom Centre where I work as a Chaplain. It is “To express Christ’s love as we serve individuals, families and people in the community who have unmet spiritual, emotional or physical needs”. We seek to give Person Centred Care.
Job used his faith, wealth, words and abilities to help those in need. Job’s friends needed to express God’s love to him when he was left in need spiritually, emotionally and physically, but they refused to learn from the example of his life and heaped condemnation on him instead. Today I determine not to make that mistake. Today, I will live a Christ centred life and give person-centred care. TODAY, WITH GOD’S HELP, I WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE. What about you?