November 14

Don’t Leave Your Post

Ecclesiastes 10:4 If the spirit of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your post; for conciliation pacifies great offenses.

I Corinthians 7:20 Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called. Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use it…Brethren, let each one remain with God in that state in which he was called.

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

The first two scriptures above describe widely different circumstances to make similar points. The first describes a situation that has become unpleasant, with someone acting wrongly in a way that affects you. The second is part of a much longer set of instructions from Paul on various issues from slavery to marriage. The bottom line for both, however, is the same: stay put unless God calls you elsewhere.

There is an epidemic in the church today of those “leaving their posts.” We live in a mobile, consumerist society that makes being “comfortable” (a necessarily temporary condition) a kind of idol, and that encourages withdrawal from circumstances that become unpleasant or challenging. The zeitgeist of the day is individualistic, self-indulgent, and narrowly focused to a dangerous extent.

Far too many are saying that “it’s time to move on” or something equally as imprecise because they haven’t heard a clear word from God, and haven’t waited upon Him enough to receive the gracious wisdom described in James 3:17. When they “move on,” they end up tearing the fabric of where they came from, and putting pressure on the most servant minded believers they’ve left behind.

In no instance are we speaking of physical or spiritual abuse, or when new employment calls one away. One must leave any situation with the former, and while some accept it as normal that a call to a better job trumps every other consideration, that’s not true; all offers must be placed at the feet of Jesus for His direction.

Nor does this mean that God doesn’t want change. Paul is clear that if a slave has the chance to become free, he should take it. Yet for slaves who have no opportunity for freedom, or for married people, or single people, Paul’s message is essentially, “Don’t strive to change your position.” His central message is clear: Remain as you were when called by God until He directs otherwise.

There is a common saying among Christians that “the problem with living sacrifices (Romans 12:1, above) is that they keep crawling off the altar.” That is never more true than in our society. Yes, it’s difficult at times to stay put, let your roots grow, and serve. Yet God’s plan for our own growth often includes the challenges that can only come with staying put. So unless and until God clearly calls us to make a change, He’s telling us to stay.

Prayer: Father, rid me of those things that reflect the weakness of today’s society. Help me to see my life as You do. Forgive me when I’ve left my post out of selfishness. May I only “move on” at Your clear direction, and thank You for the grace that comes with staying put.

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