Tuesday, 5 August 2014
…those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess… 1 Corinthians 7:30
This verse continues the same thought analyzed in the preceding one. To get clarity, we can take the first portion of that verse and apply his words to this portion. It would thus read –
“But this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on… those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess.”
What Paul meant by “the time is short” was discussed in detail in that preceding verse. And because of that reason, he admonishes “those who weep as though they did not weep.” It is nearly impossible for us to drown out all emotion, but our emotions can be subdued because of the difficulties which surround us at any given time. In war, a soldier may lose his best friend and not shed a tear, knowing that there isn’t time for tears when bullets are still coming his way. It may be that he doesn’t mourn his dead friends until after he returns home from battle, or by then he may have completely suppressed the difficulties.
This is true to a varying degree with any emotional trauma when the surrounding circumstances are of a most difficult nature. Paul saw the circumstance of those in Corinth as necessitating the need to not weep over such temporary things. In the same manner, he admonished “those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice.” Again, there may be times when giving out a joyful or triumphant shout may not be appropriate.
If a battle is won, but there was immense loss in human life on the side of the victors, is there any true reason to rejoice? Rather, it would be more appropriate to humbly and gratefully acknowledge those who had given their lives for the cause. If a football team were to win a game in which a player had died (on either team), would it be appropriate for the winners to rejoice? No! It would be a time of acknowledgment that a tragedy had occurred.
And finally in this verse, Paul says that because of the present situation, “those who buy” should act “as though they did not possess.” If one is living in a time of great upheaval where anarchy filled the streets, would it be wise to go to the store, buy a new TV, and then revel in the great new purchase? No! It would be more likely that the TV would be stolen soon, the house ransacked and even destroyed, and the owners forced to live from moment to moment in a state of terror and privation. It would make no sense to grab the TV as the rioters were banging at the door, holding fast to it as if it would be of use later.
There was some distress at the time of Paul’s letter to those in Corinth and Paul wanted to save them from what he knew would be pointless emotion. He was asking them to keep calm, be level in their feelings and attitudes, and to understand that this world is temporary and passing away. And the same should be true with each of us in some measure at all times. The more we cling to this world, the less we will cling to Christ. This is a world of uncertainty, distress, and loss. To overly hold onto it can only lead to increased unhappiness at some point in the future.
Life application: If our hearts, minds, and thoughts are always directed towards Jesus, we will be more prepared for times of trials, sadness, loss, and even an appropriate response to joyful times. If He is our ultimate prize and hope, then the things of the world will necessarily be put into the proper perspective. Let us always and in all things place Him first.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the sure knowledge that You are there and that You are my ultimate Prize. The very best of this world is just a temporary, fleeting thing that I can only tenuously hold on to. And the greatest sadness I could face will be replaced by an eternity of joy when the Lord comes for me. Help me to keep this quickly-passing world in its proper perspective and to always carry with me the reality that it is not my true home. I love You and will wait patiently for You. Amen.