This week, during our mid-week study, my attention was drawn towards something that really impacts my thoughts regarding this year’s theme. I am sure by now the theme verse is etched in your minds; even so, let’s look at it once again. “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). When applied to our lives, this is a life changing verse. Today, I want to go a little deeper.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
My attention was brought to this text as we studied the life of Job briefly this past week. As many of you know, Job was attacked by Satan: first his property (1:13-17), then his children (Job 1:18-19) and finally his health (2:7-8). The profound heartache he was enduring must have been overwhelming. Then, in Job 2:11-13 we find his friends coming onto the scene. Why? Because they “heard of all this adversity that had come upon” (2:11) Job. We know that these friends eventually dialogue with Job in a not so helpful manner: that is for another lesson. Listen though, to what they first did, “So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great” (Job 2:13). Can you imagine? Initially they did not try to fix things, because they could not be fixed. They served him by simply being there with him.
Okay, let’s bring it more into focus. The word weep (your translation may say mourn) means to lament; that is, as the sign of pain and grief for the thing signified. This lamenting is directed towards all (remember, do good to all), not just those in Christ. Richard Batey writes, “It is to be personally concerned for their good, where good is understood as living by unmerited love.” Even if those you weep with are those who have persecuted you. For those in Christ, such interaction, as Jim McGuiggan writes, “Cements friendships.” This is just another way in which we serve those around us.
Of course, we shouldn’t neglect the idea of rejoicing together with those around us, especially those who are in Christ. As one person said, “Is there anything more refreshing than the absence of jealousy in one who sees the good fortune of another? Go ahead, serve Christ in this way. Let your praise flow freely without ‘gushing’. Start today.”
I pray God’s transforming power within us all to bring us to such placing where intimate relationships can genuinely grow. Of course, we strive for this because this is what He desires for His church.