Thursday, July 8th, 2010
"You keep seeking great things for yourself. Do not keep on seeking." (Jeremiah 45:5)
Baruch was a professional scribe who faithfully served alongside Jeremiah in what became a difficult assignment—proclaiming Jehovah's judgements to Judah. (Jeremiah 1:18, 19) Jehovah saw that dangerous thinking was developing in Baruch's heart. Speaking through Jeremiah, Jehovah reacted, not with anger, but with genuine fatherly concern. Evidently, God saw that the man's desires did not reflect a wicked or devious heart. Jehovah did not want Baruch to stumble at the critical time. Hence, to bring his servant back to reality, God reminded him that He was "bringing in a calamity upon all flesh," adding that if Baruch acted wisely, he would live. (Jeremiah 45:5) Jehovah evidently reached Baruch's heart, for he responded positively and survived the destruction of Jerusalem, which occured 17 years later.
(Watchtower issue: 10/15/08, 2:7, 8)
It's really interesting how subtle this form of thinking is, yet how powerfully detrimental it can become when it isn't "nipped in the bud" early on...like in the case of Baruch.
I had a conversation with a former Witness awhile back, that made me appreciate why Jehovah wants us to keep our lives simple and stay focused on the ministry,...not allowing ourselves to become overly-involved in alot of business ventures and the pursuit of material things, which can tie us down and crowd out spiritual activities.
I spoke to a man who had been raised as one of Jehovah's Witnesses growing up, but had either left, or drifted away from being active, many years ago. So I asked him "what prevents you from coming back to congregation meetings now?" (because he wasn't opposed and said he never stopped believing in Jehovah).
And his answer reminded me of what Baruch's reason might have been (if Jehovah hadn't stepped in to prevent him from making a big mistake). He said one of the biggest problems was that he had "so many things on his plate now" and didn't know how he could make room in his life for serving God. -Not only was he very busy on account of his career and business investments, but his wife and college-age kids were not religious and were heavily involved in recreational and secular activities. He felt that even if he wanted to start coming back to congregation meetings, his family would not understand or support his decision, and it would just be too difficult.